How can we arrive at concrete action to value water? How can “Valuing Water” drive new investments? These were key questions raised by Niels Vlanderen from the Dutch Ministry for Infrastructure and Water Management, referring to the Bellagio Principles on valuing water developed by the UN High Level Panel on Water.
With his presentation Vlanderen opened the most recent meeting of the European Pact for Water (EPW) on 19 September 2018 at the German embassy in Vienna.
In January 2016, the European Pact for Water was established as a Europe-wide informal coordination and advocacy network on water governance. Its aim is to disseminate information, build capacity, facilitate exchanges, and pool collective efforts and knowledge in order to highlight the importance of water and sanitation in attaining the water-related goals set out in fundamental international and European agendas.
EPW participants are Europe-based non-state actors, specifically NGOs and CSOs. The network directly connects 35+ organisations and its members across the (European part of the) UNECE region. The network liaises and engages in close exchange with organisations like Aquafed, OECD, SIWI, European Commission (EC) Directorates-General (DEVCO and Environment), the European External Action Service (EEAS), WWC, Member States of the EU, and also UN Water and UNESCO. As such, the European Pact for Water is an example of a multi-stakeholder platform for informal exchange and cooperation on water.
Claudio Bacigalupi, Head of Sector Water at the EC Directorate for Development Cooperation (DEVCO), reported on the latest developments in DEVCO water policies for the coming period.
Lesha Witmer from Women for Water Partnership (WfWP) led a brainstorming session on how to develop a sustainable communication strategy on “Aquawareness” to keep water high on the agenda in Europe.
After a very lively discussion, the participants agreed to meet soon in Brussels to adopt a concrete action plan.