Water Diplomacy

EU Water Diplomacy

15/06/2016 - 17:50
Policy - Activity

In July 2013, the EU has adopted Council Conclusions on water diplomacy which lay out the strategic framework and the policy objectives and priorities of the EU on water diplomacy.

During the next decade, tensions and conflicts over access to water are likely to become more frequent and could endanger stability and security in many parts of the world. This could also have a direct bearing on European interests, as on international peace and security. Managing the effects of climate change and demographic and economic development, as well as reconciling different uses of water resources such as drinking water and sanitation, agriculture, food production, industry and energy, are major water security challenges. Countries, international organisations, regional and sub-regional bodies should tackle these challenges through comprehensive responses taking into account the close links with climate change, food security and energy, and bringing together a range of actions including through integrated water resource management at trans-boundary level.

The EU recognises that a distinct challenge for water diplomacy is linked to the fact that aquifer systems, lakes, rivers and river basins do not necessarily follow state borders. A concrete objective of EU water diplomacy is to proactively engage in trans-boundary water security challenges with the aim of promoting collaborative and sustainable water management arrangements and to encourage and support regional and international cooperation in the context of agreed policies and programmes.

The EU policy promoting water cooperation across the world is built on the long tradition of cooperation and vast experience and knowledge of the management of trans-boundary waters in Europe.

The EU draws particular attention to the situation around the Nile basin and in Central Asia. The EU continueS working closely with the countries concerned in these areas to further facilitate sustainable and collaborative solutions taking into account existing initiatives. EU water diplomacy also follows closely the developments in other parts of the world, concerning crossborder water security, such as in the Middle East, the Mekong River or the Sahel region.

The EU encourages the promotion of international agreements on water cooperation. The relevant UNECE Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (Helsinki 1992) and United Nations Convention on the Law of the

Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses (New York 1997) are important instruments to promote equitable, sustainable and integrated management of trans-boundary water resources.

The EU also recognises that international partnerships are essential for addressing effectively water diplomacy challenges and promotes global ownership and cooperation on the promotion of sustainable and equitable management of water.

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