Sustainable Development Goals require transformation in Europe

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Stakeholders discussing the challenge of the SDG's in Brussels. Photo: Water News Europe.

At the end of September in New York the United Nations accepted new Millennium Development Goals, the so-called Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s). Now, besides water and sanitation, the use and reuse of water are included. The implementation of the SDG’s present a challenge for Europe and require transformation. This is the conclusion of a multi-stakeholder discussion, organised the 12th of October by the European Water Partnership in Brussels.

Representatives of the industry (e.g. Coca Cola, BASF, Monsanto), water organisations (e.g. WWF, WSSTP, UNESCO-IHE), governments and European policy makers gathered in Brussels to identify what needs to be done to implement the new SDG’s. Some Member States are considering translating the SDG’s into national SDG’s. The representatives agree policy coherence is important.

Disastrous agriculture
Gerard Rass of the French Association pour l’ Agriculture Durable (APAD) plead for soil conservation in order to reverse land degradation and the runoff of water. He stated a drastic change is needed in agriculture to preserve the ecological status of our water. Everyone agreed if the SDG’s have to be implemented, it can’t be business-as-usual. It quickly became clear the private sector is needed, because the European Commission has a lack of financial means.

Policy paper
EWP-Chairman Fritz Barth wanted concrete input to push the agenda forward and proposed to focus on the opportunities instead of the threats. According to him finding solutions for the chronic underinvestment in water infrastructure and reforming the old-fashioned agriculture could be a great start. The European Water Partnership plans to organize two more stakeholder-discussions in order to produce a useful policy paper.

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