Access to drinking water and sanitation are fundamental human rights and needs, and a foundation of human dignity, Vice President / Senior Representative of the European Union Josep Borrell and Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevicius said in a joint statement on March 22, adding that water is a common resource, an important ecosystem and its use as the foundation for different sectors of the economy.
“On World Water Day 2021, we celebrate all the different ways water benefits our lives. We are determined to properly assess the water level and effectively protect it for everyone, ”they said.
This year’s theme focuses on “value of water”. “However, access to adequate, safe, acceptable, physically accessible and affordable water remains a challenge in many parts of the world,” said Borrell and Sinkevicius.
They warn that in the face of the urgency of the global climate crisis, many regions of the world face more frequent, more severe and prolonged extreme weather events, the water cycle. and changing temperatures or rising sea levels put more strain on livelihoods and ecosystems. This leads to severe water scarcity, which can severely destabilize countries and regions, impact peace and security and increase inequality, Borrell and Sinkevicius said.
Water scarcity affects a quarter of the world’s population.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a serious health and economic crisis that is impacting progress towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Access to clean water and sanitation remains the best protection for reducing the spread of infections and saving lives, ”said Borrell and Sinkevicius.
Water tensions are also on the rise in Europe. “With the European Green Agreement and our ambitious climate neutrality goal, we will address pressures on Europe’s rivers, lakes, coastal waters and groundwater, towards agriculture. more sustainable industry, using less pesticides. The protection and restoration of aquatic ecosystems including through nature-based solutions, improving water efficiency and promoting water reuse are also featured on our agenda. . With the Ambition of Zero Pollution, we are revamping our chemicals policy, reducing the pharmaceutical presence in water and soil, combating microplastics and supporting innovative technologies and practices ”, Borrell and Sinkevicius said.
“Based on our long experience in transboundary water management, the EU strongly encourages and, if possible, directly supports the enhancement of cooperation and transparency in water management at all levels. Just this month, we will inaugurate in Djibouti a renewable energy desalination plant and a West Bank wastewater treatment plant equipped with a collection and irrigation network to reuse water, “they say.
According to the EU, sustainable water management requires strong global action and international cooperation, its benefits far outweigh the water sector. “People need to play their part in ensuring safe, safe, resilient, ecologically sustainable and inclusive access to water and sanitation,” said Borrell and Sinkevicius. all over the world, ”added Borrell and Sinkevicius,“ Together, we must give water its real value, protecting its natural resources for everyone. Do it drop by drop ”.