United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

European Union

Thank you Mr. Chair.
I have the honor of speaking in the name of the European Union.
As pointed out in the Secretary General?s report report, 1.8 billion people will be living
in countries or regions with absolute water scarcity by 2025. The challenge will be to
satisfy the needs for water of these people, and to balance water use across all sectors,
including ecosystems.
To address these challenges, the EU believes that Integrated Water Resource Management at
the basin level, including in a transboundary context, based on an ecosystem approach, is the
only way forward. Indeed, IWRM allows to reconcile the conflicting needs for water
between ecosystems and humans, both relying on shared water resources for their
subsistence, while highlighting the dependence of human society on healthy ecosystems
and the services they provide.
The EU underlines that global commitments towards the delivery of the 2005 target on national
IWRM and Water Efficiency Plans need to be met, recognizing that implementation is uneven
and that a number of countries will not achieve this target without substantial support.
Nevertheless, countries should thrive, with the assistance of donor countries, UN agencies, and
IWRM experts to develop IWRM and water efficiency plans, which, as a first step, should
provide a description of how they envisage changing and improving water management in an
IWRM context, towards achieving full scale sustainable water resource management and
launching IWRM at the basin level.
This will require:
· Securing political and budgetary support at the highest level,
· Setting up a high level national mechanism, such as an inter-ministerial committee for the
preparation of the plan, capable of aligning national water management objectives with
national socio-economic development plans and sustainable development strategies.
· Mobilizing adequate financial and human resources for effective basin management, and
seeking external assistance for training
· Strong stakeholder participation, a pro-poor emphasis, and gender sensitivity
Concerning the issue of enhancing water use efficiency and the management of conflicting uses,
the Secretary-General?s report rightly puts the emphasis on agriculture as the biggest water
consumer and the sector where the potential for water productivity gains is highest. As
such, the EU supports UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan who stated in the UN
Millennium Summit in September 2000, that "we need a 'Blue Revolution' in agriculture
that focuses on increasing productivity per unit of water?'more crop per drop'."
The EU believes that national governments and funding agencies need to make strategic
choices and show strong political will in favor of agricultural water management, and put
into practice existing technical solutions towards imp roved rainfed production and
modernized irrigation in response to the needs of people in rural areas.
It is therefore essential:
· to accept that all sources of water (rain, surface water, groundwater and
wastewater) are important to achieve food security and that these sources need to
be managed in an integrated and sustainable manner,
· to create the right policy, institutions and market incentives to increase water-use
productivity in agriculture, secure tenure rights, conserve soil and water quality,
and reduce chemical runoff form agriculture and industrial discharge to protect
water quality
· to move from supply- to demand-driven and service-oriented water management,
· to put in place sustainable cost recovery mechanisms for water
infrastructure to ensure quality, reliability and expansion of services