€1 billion for EU Water Fund
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CTA. 2003. €1 billion for EU Water Fund. ICT Update Issue 12. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands
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The European Commission has recently proposed the establishment of a European Union Water Fund, with a budget of ?1 billion, to help give people in the 77 African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) signatory countries to the Cotonou Partnership Agreement acce
The European Commission has recently proposed the establishment of a European Union Water Fund, with a budget of ?1 billion, to help give people in the 77 African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) signatory countries to the Cotonou Partnership Agreement access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation. The Commission aims to build on the EU Water Initiative, launched during the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in September 2002, in order to contribute to the goal of halving the number of people without access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation by the year 2015. This ambitious goal cannot be achieved solely with conventional means and funding. Innovative policies and instruments will be essential, with integrated approaches to the management of entire river basins, strong public participation, transparency and accountability. It will, in particular, require the mobilization of a wide range of partners - governments, water agencies and water users, civil society organizations and the private sector. Coordination and cooperation at both local and international levels will be crucial. The Water Fund is intended to be a catalyst - promoting new initiatives, providing information, acting as a clearing-house, and building research and management capacity in ACP countries, as well as providing the missing link in financing sustainable projects and activities. The Fund would concentrate its activities in countries that have a sound national water policy, or which are strongly committed to developing one, based on good governance principles, and where priority is given to spending on social sectors. Countries that do not satisfy these criteria would be assisted in developing a national policy as part of capacity building projects. The Commission will now consider the necessary steps to allow the financing to be mobilized from the 9th European Development Fund to set up the Fund. According to Commission President Romano Prodi, ´Our proposal to commit ?1 billion to a new EU Water Fund shows our determination to make good the undertakings made at the Johannesburg summit. We hope that the Member States and ACP partner countries will back this bold initiative, and that it will serve as a catalyst to encourage others around the world to take similar measures to ease the plight of those less fortunate than we are´. Dr Cornelia Nauen is Senior Scientific Officer, International Cooperation, at the European Commission.
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