Mainstreaming climate considerations in European river basins

Despite the fact that mainstreaming of climate change into existing European Uinion sectoral policies is a key aim, empirical knowledge of how it works in practice remains scarce. A just accepted article in Environment and Planning C by Stijn Brouwer, Tim Rayner and Dave Huitema explores to what degree climate considerations are taken into account in the implementation of one of the most influential pieces of European water legislation, the Water Framework Directive, and more importantly, assesses possible explanations for the geographical variability in levels of mainstreaming observed. The empirical research in the paper is based on an analysis of both EU and local policy documents, as well as more than forty in-depth interviews in five different river basin districts, and shows that for various reasons, the degree of mainstreaming that has taken place differs widely. The authors conclude that timely incentives and clear guidance will be necessary to ensure progress is made by all, but that a residual fear that the adaptation agenda is open to abuse by those seeking to rationalise failures to fully implement the Water Framework Directive has put a brake on the mainstreaming agenda. The paper can be found here. It can be referenced as Brouwer, S., T. Rayner, and D. Huitema, Mainstreaming climate policy. The case of climate adaptation and the implementation of EU water policy, Forthcoming in Enviroment and Planning C.

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