Euro-Med cooperation on water – ENPI Info Centre wrap up


Water Cooperation under the UfM
The sustainable management of water resources in the Mediterranean was one of the priorities agreed by Heads of State or Government who met in Paris on 13 July 2008 to launch the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM). In the wake of that Summit, a ministerial meeting took place and a Water Experts Group (WEG) was set up to discuss and draft a Strategy for Water in the Mediterranean (SWM).
This Strategy is now becoming a reality. It will be presented for approval at a ministerial meeting in Barcelona, Spain, on April 13.
Paris Summit: The importance of water
In the declaration adopted at the 2008 Paris Summit, the Heads of State or Government underlined: “The importance of water is acknowledged: the Euro-Mediterranean Ministerial Conference in Jordan in October 2008 will define a Strategy for water in the Mediterranean, promoting conservation of water resources, diversifying water provision resources and efficient and sustainable use of water.”
Ministerial Conclusions: Conservation and balance of water used
At the 3rd Euro-Mediterranean Ministerial Conference on Water, held in Jordan in December 2008, the goals of the long-term Strategy were set and the first concrete projects announced. The ministers commissioned a Water Experts Group (WEG) to prepare the Strategy in collaboration with all stakeholders.
The conclusions adopted said the Strategy would include two main goals: “conservation of water quality including the prevention of further deterioration of water resources and the balance between the quantity of water used and the quantity of water available including mitigating and preventing the consequences of droughts and water scarcity”.
It would also “consider the most appropriate instruments to reach the objectives of the Strategy, with a view to achieve economic growth, social prosperity, equitable access and adequate supplies of water, and environmental protection, notably through improved efficiency of all water uses, appropriate governance arrangements, legislation and institutional arrangements, effective national and local planning, innovative financial mechanisms, tariff policies, standards, labels, alternative solutions, keeping in mind the differences in national situations and the need to increase the citizen’s awareness by promoting the wide participation of civil society aiming at building the culture of water.”
A dedicated website acts as the tool of the Water Expert Group for the preparation and the future implementation of the Strategy for Water in the Mediterranean.   
ENPI funded Water Programme
A programme called “Sustainable Water Management and De-pollution of the Mediterranean” is funded through the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI), the financial arm of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP).
This €22 million programme is to be launched in the coming months, aiming at “enforcing sustainable water management policies, disseminating good practices in the region and supporting the initiative Horizon 2020 for the de-pollution of the Mediterranean.” It draws attention to threats to water resources and solutions that exist, as well as the need to adopt a more appropriate model of consumption, supporting Partner Countries in implementing sustainable water management policies.
It also therefore supports activities aligned with the four priorities of the Strategy for Water in the Mediterranean (namely water governance, water and climate change, water financing and water demand management) and the three sources of pollution (municipal waste, municipal wastewater, industrial emissions) of theHorizon 2020 initiative. A few demonstration projects will promote integrated and ecosystems approaches in the fields of integrated water management or coastal zone management in relevant sectors for the SWM and Horizon 2020 and put them into practice at local level (rural or urban areas).
This programme builds on the results achieved by two previous regional programmes, SMAP I, SMAP II and SMAP III and MEDA Water.
Horizon 2020 initiative
Euro-Mediterranean governments agreed to tackle the top sources of Mediterranean pollution by the year 2020 through the Horizon 2020 initiative that is built around four elements:
  • Projects to reduce the most significant pollution sources focussing on industrial emissions, municipal waste and urban waste water, responsible for up to 80% of pollution in the Mediterranean Sea.
  • Capacity-building measures to help neighbouring countries create national environmental administrations that are able to develop and police environmental laws.
  • Using the Commission's Research budget to develop and share knowledge of environmental issues relevant to the Mediterranean.
  • Developing indicators to monitor the success of Horizon 2020.
EU Water Initiative
“The EU’s groundbreaking Water Initiative seeks to turn the tide for over a billion people who lack access to safe drinking water, 2.4 billion without adequate sanitation and 2.2 million who die each year from diseases associated with the lack of access to clean drinking water,” EuropeAid says on its website.
It adds: “European experience was essential in addressing an emerging global water crisis that became apparent in the 1990s and was threatening lives, sustainable development, peace and security. The EU reiterated its commitment to address these issues at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development where it launched the EU Water Initiative (EUWI).
“The European Commission has since developed the EUWI as its main tool for meeting the international community’s goals on water and sanitation. The EU and its Member States collectively spend close to €1.5 billion every year on water projects.”
Find out more…
IV Euro-Mediterranean Ministerial Conference on Water, 13 April 2010, Barcelona (Spain)
III Euro-Mediterranean Ministerial Conference on Water, 22 December 2008, Jordan
Jordan Ministerial Conference – Declaration
Expert Contributions to the Strategy and Draft Strategy
Water projects identified
UfM Paris Declaration
DG Environment – Mediterranean
DG EuropeAid – Water webpage
Horizon 2020 Initiative
EU Water Initiative

European Environment Agency
Sustainable Water Management and De-Pollution Programme fiche
ENPI Info Centre – Environment press pack (2009)
ENPI Info Centre – Environment feature stories
ENPI Info Centre – Environment news
ENPI Info Centre – Environment publications
EMWIS/SEMIDE on-line thesaurus
DG Environment A to Z
Dedicated Euro-Mediterranean Water website photo gallery
ENPI Info Centre photo gallery
ENPI Info Centre – Videos
DG EuropeAid video gallery