On 26 October 2023, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) will adopt its call for a new and comprehensive water strategy for Europe – an EU Blue Deal.
While in 2010, the UN General Assembly recognised the human right to water and sanitation, globally around 2.2 billion people still lack access to safely managed drinking water. Water stress is a major and growing concern also in Europe. 60% of European cities have experienced water scarcity and it is projected that water scarcity will increase by 35% by 2070 if no action is taken. Without action, water poverty will concern ever larger parts of civil societies around the world, with far-reaching implications for economic, social, and political stability.
Given the current and future water challenges the world and our continent are facing, the EESC, as the voice of Europe's organised civil society, strongly believes that Europe needs an ambitious, comprehensive and forward-looking common approach to water policies. A change of scale is needed at EU level. This is why the EESC has selected water as its cross-cutting initiative in 2023 and will call on the other institutions of the European Union to join efforts and make the EU Blue Deal a key priority for the next legislative mandate.
The October EESC Plenary session marks the culmination of the EESC's work with its call for an EU Blue Deal, and the adoption of a Declaration on the topic to establish water as one of the strategic priorities for the European Union in the next years to come.
The high-level conference "Call for an EU Blue Deal" on 26 October is an opportunity to present this work and to exchange with top level representatives of other EU institutions, water experts and key stakeholders on the most pressing water-related challenges now and in the years to come, and on the state of play regarding existing policies and actions in order to highlight the gap and show that it is high time for an EU Blue Deal.
The conference is structured around three panels to address the following thematics:
- Securing access to water and resilient water infrastructures
- Sustainable consumption of water and fostering new opportunities
- Blue Deal financing and Blue Diplomacy
Participation in the event in person will be by invitation only due to a limited number of spaces. Web streaming will be made available for those who wish to follow the event online. All details of the event will be published on this page closer to the event.