APE welcomes EP report on ECI Right2Water

On Tuesday 8 September, the European Parliament adopted an own-initiative report on the follow-up to the European Citizen Initiative Right2Water.

Aqua Publica Europea – the European Association of Public Water Operators – hails the text adopted by the EP as a positive answer to the expectations of almost 2 million European citizens who asked the EU to recognise water as a human right.

With this vote, MEPs also responded positively to citizens’ demand for participation in the EU’s policy-making process concerning this fundamental resource. The strong mobilisation underpinning the success of the Right2Water, as well as the passionate discussion in the EP, show indeed that water is an important political issue, which needs to be addressed through public debate.

As Aqua Publica Europea, we have supported the development of the initiative and we are glad that its success has favoured a renewed interest on water policy at the European level. For its intrinsic characteristics and importance, we are indeed persuaded that an effective and equitable management of water resources can only be ensured through informed decision-making and inclusive governance based on stakeholders’ and citizens’ participation.

The text adopted by the EP calls on the European Commission and Member States to increase their efforts to achieve some crucial objectives: recognising the human right to water in EU legislation and combining protection of water resources with the access to safe drinking water and sanitation for all EU citizens; ensuring adequate financing for investments and a fair participation to water services cost recovery by different societal uses; promoting water efficiency; acknowledging the specific characteristics of water provision services and the subsidiarity principle as regards the choice of the management model; increasing resources for international cooperation to make MDG/SDG on water a reality.

We are persuaded that the realisation of this ambitious agenda represents one of the essential condition to achieve a sustainable development for current and future generations. In this framework, the contribution of all institutional levels and relevant stakeholders is clearly needed.
APE’s members are aware of this important challenge and are committed to constant improvement of their performances, also through the adoption of international quality standards, benchmarking, and the reinvestment of all economic resources in services and infrastructures development. APE’s members are also engaged in devising viable approaches that reconcile affordability with cost-recovery requirements. Finally, APE’s members are actively promoting stakeholders’ engagement as a way to achieve shared solutions and ensure transparency, accountability and participation.

Right2Water has been the first successful ECI. The transnational support for the initiative suggests that there is a widespread expectation among citizens regarding Europe as a political community at large in terms of its responsibility for ensuring an appropriate management of this fundamental resource. APE and its members are ready to take up the challenge and to give their contribution under the mandate of their public ownership and in dialogue with all other stakeholders.