Three conferences address European and African water issues at UNESCO, March 22 to 25Three meetings, organized at the initiative of the French Water Academy, will take place at UNESCO from March 22 to 25: A European-African conference on the relation between water and territorial management; a symposium, Water, Solidarity, Europe, organized by the Paris-area water-management syndicate’s Programme Solidarité Eau; a European-African roundtable debate on the right to water and water treatment, organized by the French Water Academy and the European Council of Environmental Law.
Under the aegis of the President of the French Republic and of the Director-General of UNESCO, the three events are sponsored by the World Water Council and are part of the European Union Water Initiative. They are, moreover, held as part of the preparation for the fourth World Water Forum (Mexico, March 2006).
The Conferences will bring together more than 300 participants representing governments, political and administrative decision-makers, bankers, experts, academics, legal experts and sociologists. Notable participants include: Maria Mutagamba, Uganda’s Minister for Water and the Environment; Chair of the African Ministers’ Council on Water; Serge Lepeltier, France’s Minister for the Ecology and Sustainable Development; former French ministers Charles Josselin, Louis Le Pensec and Corinne Lepage; Marc Genitilini, President of the French Water Academy; Michel Camdessus, former Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund.
On March 22 and 23, the European-African conference, Water and Territory will focus on the relation between water and territorial management. On the basis of some 40 case studies illustrating the diversity of issues concerned, Africans and Europeans will be able to compare notes with a view to overcoming the compartimentalization that all too often divides water and territorial (urban or rural) management. One session will be specifically dedicated to participatory decision-making processes and to education and information policies. The conference will also seek to define indicators with which to assess the efficacy of actions in support of sustainable development.
The second meeting, organized on March 24 by Programme Solidarité Eau, will tackle various North-South cooperation methods practiced by European States with regard to water. In France, the recent so-called Oudin Law reinforces local and water authorities’ ability to be involved in water and water treatment programmes in developing countries.
On March 25, the European-African roundtable debate on the right to water and to water treatment will bring together jurists, economics and administrative managers to examine the concept of the right to water and to water treatment. The debate will be held within the framework of the Millennium Development Goal for water, adopted in Johannesburg in September 2002.
A breakfast press briefing will be hosted at UNESCO Headquarters on March 22, 8.30 to 9.30 a.m.
Introductory presentations will be given by:
- Serge Lepeltier, French Minister for the Ecology and Sustainable Development
- Andras Szollosi-Nagi, Director of UNESCO’s International Hydrological Programme
- Maria Mutagamba, Uganda’s Minister for Water and the Environment
- Marc Gentilini President of the French Water Academy