European Commission seeks cities’ advice on water strategy

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Around 20 cities will be selected by the European Commission to share their technical expertise and strategic advice on the Commission’s Urban Water Agenda 2030.

The agenda aims to build on the capacities and political leadership of local governments to advance sustainable water management in Europe. The Commission is looking to work with cities in accelerating the implementation of EU water policies and legislation, such as the EU Water Framework Directive and the Floods Directive.

Following a tender procedure, ICLEI-local governments for sustainability, and EUROCITIES, the Brussels-based city network, were selected by the European Commission to participate alongside the cities.

“The Urban Water Agenda 2030 is a unique opportunity for cities to look at long-term water challenges that affect them,” Nathalie Guri, Projects and Knowledge Sharing Director, EUROCITIES, told The Source. “These include ageing infrastructure, the resource-efficiency of water systems, and the role of cities in river basin management.”

Opportunities linked to the Urban Water Agenda were explored in an inter-departmental meeting at the European Commission’s DG ENV on 3 April. Representatives of DG REGIO, DG CLIMA, DG RTD and EASME were invited to exchange ideas with ICLEI and EUROCITIES on taking the initiative further. The participants concluded that it will be essential to first bring cities themselves around the table to better understand their needs and concerns in urban water management.

“Cities are change makers in many areas,” added Guri. “While many member states have failed to achieve the good water status pursued under the Water Framework Directive, cities are striding ahead. A consultation process that involves both cities and stakeholders will help create a platform of excellence. This will serve to share and reward examples of best practice, encouraging cities to go one step further in developing successful water management solutions.”

The core group of cities chosen will be regularly consulted on matters between April and October 2017. The consultation includes one face-to-face workshop in May 2017.