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EU Water Initiative - WATER for Life


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Water for Life Manifesto
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Romano Prodi President of the European Commission ©EC-Audiovisual library

Water is Life, yet over 1 billion people have no access to safe drinking water and over 2 billion lack basic sanitation. This is why leaders at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa, in September 2002, called for halving these numbers by 2015. In practical terms, this means providing these essential services to 200 000 and 400 000 new people per day until the end of 2015! The EU strongly supports these goals and therefore, in Johannesburg, we launched the EU Water Initiative together with Danish Prime Minister and EU President in office, Anders Fogh Rasmussen.
It is obvious that such ambitious goals on a global scale cannot be achieved with conventional means, even with all the current aid. Scientific knowledge and innovative approaches across policies and their instruments are important for tangible headway towards these goals. It will particularly require a great mobilisation of partners ranging from governments, water agencies, water users to civil society organisations and private enterprises. Open co-ordination and co-operation at all levels from local to international will be crucial.
The second thrust of the Initiative concerns the general adoption of river basin-scale policy, planning and management, particularly for transboundary catchments.
Within the European Union, we have already adopted this approach with the EU Water Framework Directive. I am convinced that the shared goals of inter-generational fairness, equitable use and conservation of precious water resources offer ample opportunities for co-operation.
The European Union has been working on key issues related to sustainable use of precious water resources, not only within its own borders, but also in partnership with many research teams, NGOs, governments and other actors in all partner countries. It has actively participated in a variety of water-related fora and initiatives. A large number of co-operation projects channel knowledge and financial resources into addressing water problems in many partner countries. Policy dialogue with several regions, including Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Mediterranean, is being reinforced concerning crucial water and associated food security in the expectation of enhancing the effects of on-going and future co-operation projects.
This website shows the European Commission’s work on issues addressed by the Water Initiative and its commitment to pursue its goals by partnering with others. The different Commissioners involved in this subject, Philippe Busquin (Research), Poul Nielson (Development), Chris Patten (External Relations) and Margot Wallström (Environment) and their respective services, have been particularly active in this endeavour and will continue to invest in broadening these partnerships in the future.

Romano Prodi
President of the European Commission