After several months of work, supported by many EIA’s internal and external experts, last December, the EIA have finalized the Position Paper “Sustainable Irrigation – Focus on the framework of the EU Taxonomy”.
Furthermore, on December 15th, the EIA officially submitted to the European Commission the identified economic activities and technical criteria drafted to measure the potential contribution of the irrigation sector to the environmental objectives defined by the EU Taxonomy. Our aim is not only to integrate Sustainable Irrigation within the European framework, but to also provide a univocal basis for measuring and improving the performance of our value chain and foster the sector’s sustainable transition. we eagerly await the European Commission’s response.
Beyond activities and criteria, we have also defined 5 recommendations addressing key irrigation stakeholders, strategically positioned to guide future developments of our sector.
Characterized by extreme weather events, water shortage and its deteriorating quality, climate change is amplifying the current water crisis. A global challenge of this magnitude requires finding concrete actions to safeguard water, a vital resource for both human life and global natural and economic systems. The entire economic framework, as well as individuals’ daily lives, are exposed to water scarcity, which could cost some regions up to 6% of their GDP by 2050. The European Irrigation Association (EIA), together with the technical support of The European House-Ambrosetti (TEHA), has elaborated this document to highlight the potential enabling role of irrigation for its own and its value chain’s sustainable transition, as it directly involves the management, use, and protection of water resources and bodies. However, irrigation activities to date are only partially covered within regulatory systems for measuring the sustainability of economic activities, aimed at supporting Member States and Investors in directing capital toward sustainable activities. This may represent a risk for the entire irrigation sector, both in terms of access to financial capitals and of competitiveness on the market. Today, looking at the current scenario, the EU Taxonomy for Sustainable Finance – Regulation 2020/852/EU – represents a standardized, performance, science-based system to measure the sustainable contribution of economic activities, imposing disclosure requirements aimed at improving the average quality of corporate sustainability information to support the Financial sector’s decision-making processes towards sustainable development. The objective of this document is to: (i) identify the economic activities and technical criteria useful to measure the contribution of the irrigation sector to the sustainable transition; (ii) advocate to EU Institutions in support of the irrigation sector’s sustainability contribution; (iii) create a technical guide for irrigation companies on how to apply the EU Taxonomy. Following the language adopted by the EU Taxonomy, and supported by the technical knowledge made available by the European Irrigation Association members and external Advisory Board, this paper succeeded in defining 14 economic activities carried out within the irrigation sector, distinguishing the manufacturing and distribution of an irrigation system, its design, installation, and end-of-life management, as well as the professional consultancy, training, and communication services, completed by scientific research on irrigation. Furthermore, this document proposes the technical criteria to establish the contribution of the irrigation sector to the achievement of the 6 environmental objectives of the EU Taxonomy – climate change mitigation, climate change adaptation, sustainable use and protection of water and marine resources, transition to a circular economy, pollution prevention and control, and protection and restoration of biodiversity and ecosystems – defined by the European Commission. Activities and criteria are supported by a common definition of Sustainable Irrigation and by 5 recommendations addressing the main irrigation stakeholders in order to guide its future development by focusing on the contribution that this sector can provide to sustainable development”.
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