The River Basin Management Plan
The River Basin Management Plan‘s (RBMP) review began with a significant delay in 2015. The review’s final outcome was the RBMP2. The review was obligatory for all European Union Member States until the end of 2015, by the requirements of the Water Framework Directive (WFD). The plan had to be made according to the regulations and recommendations, hence great importance had to be given to the involvement of stakeholders and NGOs. WWF has established a work team with Hungarian NGOs working in the field of freshwaters and wetlands. The main objective of the collaboration was to compile the recommendations, which we deemed indispensably essential at the review for the country and for the smaller river basins well known by the involved NGOs.
For the preparation and implementation of the RBMP2 the General Directorate of Water Management was responsible. They published the first broad documents in May 2015. With the members of the team, we have already defined our objectives before the publication of the documents, based on the experiences of the first plan in 2009.
The WWF‘s and the NGO partnership’s aim was that Hungary makes ambitious commitments for the sake of good national water conditions. We wished to achieve a higher number of concrete commitments for ongoing field restorations or maintenance works, which have a direct effect on our waters. These provide the most visible results for the achievement of better condition waters. The other aim of the active involvement into the public participation process was that the RBMP2 needs to recognize the national or local problems that may endanger and obstruct the improvement of water conditions, needs to analyse these risks and has to propose solutions for minimizing the risks. In order to achieve these goals, we collected written comments, contacted the planners and also presented our proposals at local forums.
The forums were organised centrally, were held during the summer in the holiday season, and the organizers invested little energy in the active involvement of stakeholders. Therefore participation and written comments has been considerably behind the expected.
The most critical part of the work in 2015 was to solve the synchronization of the RBMP review with the flood risk management plans. As there are a set of interventions planned for flood protection, which degrades the ecological status of rivers and riverine habitats. WWF considers the failure of coordination between the two parallel planning processes as a missed opportunity to strengthen each other. There were some negotiations for flood protection projects in 2015, but the projects to be finished in Hungary until 2020 had been already defined before the completion of the RBMP2. The financial opportunities and time pressure prevented the expected order of arrangement. NGO working group after implementing the RBMP2 now try to prevent flood protection projects that would worsen the chance to improve the quality of water. Our goal is to have more new projects that lie as a horizontal principle for the implementation of recommendations drafted in the RBMP2, to improve the status of rivers and habitats.