BioFresh Logo REFRESH Logo


“Water Lives: new scientific horizons for biodiversity and water policy”

Rationale and concept of the Symposium

The aim of the joint Science Policy Symposium for Freshwater Life is to present the scientific advances of BIOFRESH and REFRESH, to discuss their implications for the freshwater management in the EU and to come up with clear recommendations for policy making. To this end, the Symposium seeks to support the implementation of the Biodiversity Strategy 2020 and the EU Water Framework Directive (and its potential revision) and to create synergies across them building on the best recent knowledge on the current and future status of freshwater ecosystems and their inherent biodiversity.

Freshwater ecosystems support 10% of all animal species on Earth and provide a diverse array of functions and services that benefit human well-being. At the same time, their deterioration has been particularly notable as a result of human induced pressures. Over the last decades, global freshwater biodiversity has declined at a greater rate compared to terrestrial and marine ecosystems. At the European scale, the wide range of pressures and impacts on freshwater ecosystems threatens the attainment of good ecological status under the Water Framework Directive. Despite numerous efforts underpinned by EU biodiversity and water related policies aiming at protecting freshwater ecosystems and their sustainable use, major challenges in implementation persist. The Blueprint to Safeguard Europe’s Water Resources has pointed out a number of actions to improve the implementation of Europe’s water policies, including the need for cross-cutting problem solving. In this context, FP7 projects can play an important role by integrating their research findings into these policy processes.

The BIOFRESH project delivers policy relevant data and results on the current status, trends, pressures and conservation priorities of freshwater biodiversity. The REFRESH project increases understanding of freshwater ecosystem response to climate and land use change and develops tools to support adaptive management.

The symposium will align key research findings with the needs of policy making and generate policy-relevant messages relating to:

  • Conservation planning and management of freshwater biodiversity in the context of Green Infrastructure and Natura 2000.
  • Future protected area networks considering environmental scenarios and policy targets
  • Freshwater biodiversity data and information to contribute to recent activities in ecosystem assessments by JRC, EEA and the European Commission
  • Achievements of WFD good ecological status under climate and land use change scenarios
  • Interlinkages between biodiversity, water related policies and other policy sectors (e.g. energy, agriculture and cohesion) to infer recommendations on synergies for their implementation.

Outcomes of the symposium will be a policy brief presenting the key messages and recommendations from the discussions, the publication of a policy paper in a peer reviewed journal, and a strengthening of networks in the interface of freshwater science and policy.

Targeted policies: Biodiversity Strategy 2020, Water Framework Directive

Participant profile: Policy makers at EU level; different stakeholders (administration, business and civil society) from water management and the conservation sector at EU and national level; scientific community (other FP7 projects)       

BioFresh (Co. 226874) and REFRESH (Co.244121) are funded by the European Commission under the 7th Framework Programme


When visiting this website, remember always to refresh your browser accordingly to your browser settings.