Motion for a resolution - B6-0113/2009Motion for a resolution



further to Question for Oral Answer B6‑0015/2009
pursuant to Rule 108(5) of the Rules of Procedure
by Thijs Berman
on behalf of the Committee on Development
on water in the light of the 5th World Water Forum to be held in CityplaceIstanbul on 16-22 March 2009

Procedure : 2009/2518(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected :  


European Parliament resolution on placewater in the light of the 5th World Water Forum to be held in CityIstanbul on 16-22 March 2009

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the final declarations of the first four World Water Fora, held in Marrakech (1997), The Hague (2000), Kyoto (2003) and Mexico (2006),

–   having regard to the declaration of the Dublin Conference (1992), which recommends adopting integrated water management and recognises the value of water in all its uses and introduces the principle of water tarification,

–  having regard to the establishment of the World Water Council in 1966 to stimulate discussions on the implications of international water policy,

–  having regard to the ministerial declaration of the International Water Conference held in Bonn in 2001, which stresses the urgent need to stimulate new financing from every possible category of investor and the need to strengthen public funding of water through the contribution of private capital, while encouraging action at local level,

–  having regard to the Monterrey Conference, which introduced the concept of a Global Water Partnership as a multidimensional dialogue among equals extending to businesses, financial institutions and civil society, an initiative that was taken up by NEPAD and the G8 in Genoa in 2001 and by the Africa Partnership Forum in 2003,

–  having regard to the EU-UN Convention, which was adopted in Helsinki in 1992 and entered into force in 1996, and which provides a legal framework for regional cooperation on the protection and use of transboundary watercourses and international lakes,

–  having regard to the New York Conference on the Millennium Development Goals, which provided for the halving by 2015 of the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water,

–  having regard to the second UN World Water Development Report, entitled 'Water, a shared responsibility',

–  having regard to its resolution of 15 March 2007 on local authorities and development cooperation[1],

–  having regard to its resolution of 15 March 2006 on the Fourth World Water Forum in CityplaceMexico City (16-22 March 2006)[2],

–  having regard to Oral Question B6-0015/2009 to the Commission on the 5th World Water Forum in placeCityIstanbul from 16 to 22 March 2009,

–  having regard to Rule 108(5) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas the shortage of water and sanitation is causing 8 million deaths a year, whereas more than one billion people have no convenient access to drink water at an acceptable price and whereas around two-and-a-half billion have no access of sanitation,

B.  whereas 2.8 billion people live in places affected by water tress and whereas this figure will rise to 3.9 billion by 2030,

C.  whereas poor populations are the most vulnerable to climate change and are also least capable of adapting to it,

D.  whereas 70% of global water consumption is disconnected from any financial logic since, in the agricultural sector, nobody pays a price for water that is close to the cost of the resource,

E.  whereas rational water services and management should determine a level of pricing that avoids an overuse by some sectors and should allow investments to maintain and improve infrastructure, combined with flanking measures to ensure equitable water distribution and government support to enable poor families to pay for their basic water needs,

F.  whereas general water subsidies, resulting in artificially low water prices, lead to overuse by some sectors and are one of the main causes of water shortage,

G.  whereas water distribution is extremely unequal, while it should be a fundamental and universal right, and whereas it is most appropriately determined and managed at local level,

H.  whereas liberalisation and deregulation of water distribution in developing countries, and in particular in the Least Developed Countries, without a proper accompanying regulatory framework, can result in price increases that hit the poorest and reduce their access to water,

placeI.  whereas, however, public-private partnerships, that combine tight and transparent regulations, public ownership and private investment, can result in improved access to water and sanitation, as well as a more cost-efficient use,

J.  whereas the main obstacles to efficient water management are: the low political and financial priority given to water, poor management, an inadequate legal framework, a lack of transparency in negotiating and awarding contracts, corruption and a lack of discussion on price levels,

K.  whereas, according to the OECD, the share of official development assistance (ODA) devoted to water and sanitation is only 9% of bilateral ODA and 4.5% of multilateral ODA and whereas distribution is unsatisfactory since the least developed countries (LDCs), which are the most needy, have only received 24% of funding,

L.  whereas the World Water Forum, which meets every three years, provides an opportunity for discussion and shaping global policy decisions on management of water and water resources,

1.  Declares that water is a shared resource of mankind and that access to water should constitute a fundamental and universal right; calls for all necessary efforts to be made to guarantee access to water for the most deprived populations by 2015;

2.  Declares that water is assumed as a public good and should be under public control, irrespective of whether it is managed partly or totally by the private sector;

3.  Stresses that any water management policy should also cover the protection of public health and the environment; stresses also that the World Forum should help to develop strategies conducive to a type of economic and agricultural development that can guarantee a high level of water quality;

4.  Calls for the abandoning of systems of general water distribution subsidies, which undermine incentives for efficient water management by creating overuse, to free up funds for targeted subsidies in particular for poor and rural populations, aiming at affordable access for all;

5.  Stresses the value of establishing shared water management bodies where countries share a common basin in order to create or strengthen forms of solidarity conducive to the appeasement of tensions and the resolution of conflicts;

6.  Draws attention to the vital role of women as regards water supply, management and conservation;

7.  Calls on the Member States, despite the financial crisis, to increase their contribution to ODA in order to achieve the MDG relating to drink water supplies, whose investment requirement amounts to an annual sum of USD 180 billion;

8.  Calls for the resources of the European Water Fund for ACP countries to be stepped up within the 10th EDF and for new forms of funding, including private funding and innovative partnerships, in particular solidarity-based financing, to be developed;

9.  Takes the view that bilateral ODA should support some multilateral measures such as the African Water Initiative;

10.  Considers that ODA should be used in conjunction with the resources of local authorities, voluntary donations, bank loans and private capita, to ensure that funding for the water sector is as comprehensive as possible;

11.  Stresses the need to create guarantee mechanisms that can be set up by financial and development institutions to counter investors' caution on the water market;

12.  Points out that, in its tasks of determining policies and the necessary resources, selecting partners and allocating responsibilities, while delegating implementation measures to local authorities, the State is still a major stakeholder in water policy;

13.  Stresses that water resource management should be based on a decentralised, participative and integrated approach involving users and decision-makers in the definition of water policy at local level;

14.  Calls on the Commission to develop water awareness programmes in the EU and in the EU'S partner countries;

15.  Stresses the need to support local public authorities in their efforts to implement a democratic water management policy that is efficient, transparent, regulated and respectful of sustainable development objectives in order to meet the needs of communities;

16.  Calls on the Commission and the Council to recognise the vital role of local authorities in water protection and management, so as to ensure that they are given responsibility in all countries for management of the water sector and regrets the fact that the competences of EU local authorities are insufficiently valued and exploited by European cofinancing programmes;

17.  Calls therefore on the Commission and the Council to encourage EU local authorities to devote a proportion of the levies collected from users for the supply of water and sanitation services to decentralised cooperation measures;

18.  Calls, in the context of retained public ownership and within the right legal regulatory framework, for increased efforts to engage the private sector in water distribution, in order to benefit from its capital, know-how and technology to increase access to water and sanitation;

19.  Considers that it is the states' responsibility to incorporate small private service providers in their national water supply strategies;

20.  Considers that systems of public-private partnerships, whereby the public authorities retain the ownership of the infrastructure and conclude a management contract with the private sector, can be one way of improving affordable access to water and sanitation;

21.  Stresses the importance of promoting new approaches such as the irrigation of rural areas and the creation of green belts around towns, in order to strengthen food security and local autonomy;

22.  Considers that the role of NGOs working on the ground as intermediaries with local communities is an essential additional element in guaranteeing the success of projects in poor countries;

23.  Hopes that cross-subsidies can be introduced to enable the very poor to be supplied with water at an affordable price;

24.  Is convinced that local savings can also be used, and that this requires governments to remove all legal, tax and administrative obstacles which may stand in the way of local financial markets;

25.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to adopt a water management aid policy, based on the principle of universal, fair and non-discriminatory access to safe water;

26.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to facilitate and support the efforts of developing countries in adapting to and reducing the impact of climate change; recalls, in this connection, the importance of rapidly setting up the Global Alliance against Climate Change;

27.  Stresses the importance of taking account of the needs of the poor in devising water supply and management policies, with special reference to communities most vulnerable to climate change;

28.  Calls on the Presidency to represent the EU at the Istanbul Forum, with a mandate to:

  • -treat access to drink water as a vital and fundamental human right, and not merely as an economically tradable good, subject only to the rules of the market,
  • -advocate the approach expressed in this resolution;

29.  Wishes to see the opening of negotiations, under UN auspices, on an international treaty recognising this right;

30.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the ACP-EU Council of Ministers, the UN Secretary-General and the general secretariat of the Committees for the Global Water Contract.