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Water/Sanitation and Human Settlements

In the run-up to this year's Millennium Review Summit, the CSD-13 plays a pivotal role in ensuring a strong environmental component of the summit. In particular, CSD-13 addresses the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 7, which asks to "halve, by 2015, the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation", as well as the JPoI goals on water and sanitation.

So far, the EU has taken concrete action on implementing the water agenda of Johannesburg through the EU Water Initiative (EUWI). The EUWI aims to harmonize EU assistance in water and sanitation through closer cooperation and alignment of practices in support of country-led priorities. Also, it addresses cross-cutting issues, such as finance, monitoring/reporting and research. The EUWI provides the frame-work for the implementation of strategic partnerships for water and sanitation with Af-rica and with the countries in East Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia (EECCA). These partnerships were launched at WSSD. A subsequent initiative for the Mediter-ranean was launched in 2003 and work towards a Latin American component has started. As regards the organisational framework of the EUWI, several Member States have taken the lead on different components of the initiative.

Outcome of CSD-13

From 11-22 April 2005, governments and stakeholders convened in New York to address the policy challenges in the area of water, sanitation and human settlements. After two weeks of discussions and negotiations, the following outcome was agreed among governments.

To accelerate progress in providing access to safe drinking water, the CSD recommends instituting economic incentives to encourage the participation of small-scale water service providers; implementing affordable water tariffs to contribute to the financial sustainability of water services; and targeting subsidies for the poor, including connection costs. The CSD also calls for better water management, including more efficient irrigation and wider use of rain water harvesting technologies, especially in the agricultural sector; implementing irrigation projects with a focus on the poor, particularly in Africa; and training farmers and water users associations in efficient water use.

On sanitation, the CSD calls for establishing an institutional home for sanitation, and giving it priority in national development plans and budgets, targeting investments to areas of greatest need and greatest impact, such as schools, work places and health centers and assessing the health impacts of the lack of sanitation at the community level. The CSD also calls for financial and technical assistance to national and local authorities in deploying effective and environmentally-sound sewerage systems and for wastewater treatment and reuse.

For human settlements, the CSD recommends that governments, with assistance from the international community, design pro-poor policies with a focus on tenure security and access to affordable serviced land in order to improve access of the poor, in particular slum dwellers, to decent and affordable housing and basic services. The CSD also recommends giving particular attention to the equal rights of women to own and inherit land and other property and to access credit markets; incorporating employment and enterprise development policies into national planning and slum prevention and upgrading programmes, and providing education and vocational training to women and youth to improve their access to decent jobs. Governments were also encouraged to promote public-public and public-private partnerships for financing and developing infrastructure and affordable housing.

More than 100 Government Ministers participated in CSD-13, carrying a broad range of portfolios including trade, development, planning, health, environment, housing, water and sanitation. The European Commission was represented at the ministerial segment by Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas. The broad high level participation indicates a significant level of interest in maintaining the momentum of the Johannesburg Summit and delivering on the sustainable development goals.

Other outcomes of the CSD-13 were the Learning Centre, which offered courses for CSD-13 participants on a wide range of topics, the Partnerships Fair and the more than 50 official side events held over the two weeks.

The Commission’s decisions will also be a contribution to the UN General Assembly’s High-Level Plenary Meeting – the so-called Millennium Review Summit – to be held in September this year, to spur progress on the Millennium Development Goals and seek agreement on ways to revitalize international mechanisms for global security and human rights.

From an EU perspective, the outcome of CSD-13 covers all of the EU priorities, as identified in the brochure ‘From Commitments to Actions’.


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