WATER CRIMES project draws near to a close with special session in Athens

Project facilitates knowledge and discussion of new ways to prevent and resolve water-based conflicts

July 24, 2017

On July 7, 2017, the WATER CRIMES project held a special session during the 10th World Congress on Water Resources and Environment, “Panta Rhei”, which took place in Athens, Greece. The event marked the near finalisation of the 19-month project, which is co-funded by the Internal Security Fund of the European Union.

During the “Special Session on Water Crimes”, the five project partners – Faculty of Criminal Justice and Security, University of Maribor (FCJS UM), Regional Environmental Center (REC), Research Centre on Security and Crime (RiSSC), Istituto Superioresui Sistemi Territoriali per l’Innovazione (SiTI) and Universidade da Coruna (UDC) – presented the project’s four work packages and described the challenges faced during their implementation. The main tools and working papers were also introduced (country reports, a water crimes inventory, a water crimes threat and risk assessment, a water crimes outlook, and policy recommendations), and their main outcomes were outlined. The project also contributed towards research development, threat and risk assessment, scenario-drawing methodologies, a definition of water crimes, and a classification of water crimes in seven categories: water corruption, water-related organised crime, water pollution, water theft, water fraud, water terrorism, and water cyber-attacks.

The session ended with a round-table discussion focusing on the risks of water crimes and the countermeasures to be adopted. Participants from European government institutions, academia, research institutions, international organisations and non-governmental organisations, and other interested stakeholders provided their insights, shared their experiences, and conferred on current and impending global challenges as climate change and water-based conflicts.

Keynotes and conclusions

The participants greatly appreciated the topic, deliverables and results, and acknowledged the importance of focusing on this emerging issue. They also expressed the need for initiatives such as the WATER CRIMES project to raise awareness on the issue and on the measures to be applied to fight against water crimes, and a continuation of the work was encouraged.

Event participants also mentioned other priorities to address, such as measures to improve legislative frameworks, better cooperation between law enforcement agencies, systematic and targeted data collection, and strengthened controls and sanctions.

Finally, the participants were invited to join the “Water Crimes Network”, which is composed of project partners and project stakeholders alike.

Upcoming publication

An important announcement at the event was the upcoming publication of the “First European Report on Water Crimes elaborated’ within the project. The report will soon be made available online on the project website: http://www.watercrimes.eu/.

Further details about are included in an event minutes PDF file attached to this article.

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TAGS: Water | Water crime | Knowledge exchange | Environmental security