Reach agreement on Policy Issue(s) and associated scenarios.

Subtask Description:
Reach agreement on Policy Issue(s) and associated scenarios.

Action points of the implementation:

Scheldt Delta, Netherlands

Policy Issue:
Nitrogen source apportionment for the catchment, estuary & adjacent coastal waters.

Human Activities:
Agriculture, urban and industry activities, fisheries, tourism.

General Information:
The case study is related to an assessment of the major WFD objective for good ecological quality in the river catchment and the coastal zone, i.e. phytoplankton concentration, which is depended on nitrogen availability. The nitrogen load from the neighbouring countries is four times higher than the loads in the Netherlands itself. The study, connected to the main stakeholder concerns, is focused a) on the social and economic analysis of apportionment of Nitrogen objectives in the river catchment and b) feasibility and costs of nitrate reduction measures concerning agriculture, households and natural areas.


Example of Implementation:
The Scheldt Delta selection of policy issue and associated scenarios .

Early in the SAF implementation, a meeting was held, in order to engage the stakeholders to the process and to identify the policy issue to be dealt with. The Scheldt Delta Study Site team has identified a list of potential policy issues for the area that was presented to the stakeholders. The selected issue emerged after a voting procedure as one of two priority issues as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1 : List of potential policy issues and ranking from the Scheldt Study Site team and the stakeholders participating the initial meeting.

After the selection of the Policy Issue, the prime stakeholders were defined as those entities having a major responsibility/authority with respect to the implementation of the EU WFD. They were re-engaged in the process through a new meeting that was organised in order to discuss the related human activities, impacts and management options. The results of the meeting are summarized above:


Managing objective:
Comply with the regulations of EU WFD in such way that the Ecological Quality Objective for the receiving water is reached. Nitrogen concentration, being the main limiting factor for phytoplankton on the North Sea and therefore determining the Good Ecological status of the coastal zone for plankton, is the crucial parameter.


Related human activities:

Management options:

Initial scenarios associated to the policy issue:

Background scenarios:

The final decision on which scenarios to use, during the modelling and analysis phase was made in close communication with the stakeholders during the oncoming meetings.

The important point in this example is that stakeholders were engaged and re-engaged as part of an iterative process of Policy Issue selection from which both the range of potential issues and then the selection of the main Policy Issue were identified. This is a crucial part of the SAF implementation as one of the main objectives is to create strong interface between science and policy, creating trust and collaborative bonds.


Bert van Eck: