“The future is now to act” is a main takeaway that EJWP participants carried from their visit to the EU Directorate-General for Environment (DG ENV) during their intensive training week in Brussels last June. European Commission Officers Veronica Manfredi and Joachim D’Eugenio provided in-depth insights on how European environmental policies are made and implemented to safeguard quality-of-life levels for EU citizens.
The meeting discussions focused on the role of stakeholders, green skills, and digitalization in working toward the European Zero Pollution plan. Developing relevant policies goes hand-in-hand with green skills, where young professional are frequently the drivers for any positive change. This principle will likely continue to impact the current situation and open new opportunities. EJWP is a prime example of the type of platform to create an environment to empower young professionals and help them to become acquainted with transversal skills.
Achieving SDG6 for clean water and good sanitation around Europe is propelled by developing the necessary infrastructure with the support of digitalization to control the process and prevent pollution incidents. The value chain in this domain is complex, and the European Commission connects and supports the different parties. Data should be accessible and considered as public tool which will facilitate the digitalization process in the domain.
“Our research applying data science in water treatment supports the digitalization of the water sector. It is always exciting to meet decision-makers and better understand how we can contribute to the European digital strategy. I am thankful to EJWP for including me with these young water professionals,” Zakhar Maletskyi, Associate Professor of Water and Environmental Engineering at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, a research group on analytics in water treatment.
To tackle the challenges across Europe, there is no magic bullet, and everyone is invited to contribute. Preparing a healthy social environment through dialogue, conflict prevention and democracy is a key step. Ensuring the representation of all relevant stakeholders is another key step. In addition, creating green skills curricula and green skills agenda is crucial.
“We organized the meeting to generate more understanding on the policy process and work at the European level. What are the policy priorities and why? How can we work with and create a European approach throughout the value chain of water includes the policy process? Visiting the Commission office helps create understanding of working conditions and each other’s worlds. This supports collaboration opportunities since we learn to better understand and address each other’s needs,” Naomi Timmer, Director of EJWP.
Future steps are all about prioritizing the agenda towards Zero Pollution Plan through public speaking, agenda setting, showcasing, and providing the required funding. The future is here and maintaining good life for European citizens is a must.