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Informasjon => Nyheter om den internasjonale vannsaken => Emne startet av: Trude på Tirsdag 16. Desember 2008, kl. 17:36

Tittel: Report from the conference "Saving Europe's water" held 05.11.08 in Brussels
Skrevet av: TrudeTirsdag 16. Desember 2008, kl. 17:36
Summary:
The event was co-organised by Friends of Europe (FOE) and the European Water Partnership (EWP), with the sponsoring of The Coca-Cola Company, Dow Europe and Veolia Environnement. The subject: “the European Contribution to the 5th World Water Forum”

Early in the morning, I arrived with CEO colleagues, David Hachfeld (Berliner Wassertisch, ATTAC and Oxfam) and Kim Le Quang (Euracme), and we handed out the Manifesto written last September in Malmo for the launch of the European Network for Public Water. This was mildly appreciated by some participants and Friends of Europe's director Nathalie Furrer who later reproached me to not have warned in advance, that she would have accepted our document on a table, that this was deteriorating their image etc.
The conference was largely business-focused; the room was packed with business executives and financial analysts eager to know more about the water market development possibilities. NGO and public authorities representatives (including Commission officials) were also present.

Most important facts of the day :
- the pressure put in the introductory speech by World Water Coucil Director General Ger Bergkamp, who stressed the importance for the EU to take a strong stance regarding Climate Change and use the opportunity offered by the World Water Forum for that.
- the announcement by Mr Gammeltoft (Head of Water Unit at DG Environment) of a new Commission White Paper on water and climate change for next March.
- Relative consensus among the participants that land use and agricultural policies were crucial for the water sector. Farmers representative was not too happy about it.
- Reducing water demand, notably through technological improvements, remains the Commission's main approach to tackling water scarcity.
- According to Stavros Dimas, Environment Commissioner, "I don't know if we can consider it [the European Regional Process - the European contribution to the WWF] an official initiative, but it will definitely be a very important input."
- Ian Lomax, from Dow Europe and the European Desalination Society, says that there is "misconceptions and deception" regarding seawater desalination; for instance, "there is even more sealife around [Perth's desalination plant] brine discharge". Marcos de Quinto, representing Coca-Cola, said that Coca-Cola was increasing its water efficiency and reducing its water footprint before acknowledging that there was still problems with the figures (Coca-Cola apparently does not take into account its suppliers in the calculation...), and that they were "helping sugar producers to get certification"
- raising water awareness remains crucial (Peter Cox from the European Water Association waved our manifesto while saying this); according to the WWF representative, “the use of water pricing as a tool to reach WFD objectives is not happening”. Antoine Frerot, Veolia Water's CEO, made the usual speech about private water operators not being privatisers but responsible managers.
- I asked to Frerot how he thought he could maintain the profitability of its business in the framework of a much-needed decrease in water consumption in Europe without calling for extra public money. He answered that water consumption decrease was from now on the choice of the general public interest and that he had no will to criticise that; but that this trend was indeed impacting the revenue of all water utilities, including public, and that a new policy agreement had to be found with public authorities.
- Alice Bouman from Women for Water Partnership said that ownership, behaviours, ways of living... were the real issues in the water sector.

(Martin)