6th FEMIP conference examines the challenges of sustainable water financing and climate change in the Mediterranean
May 29th, 2009 |
FEMIP, the European Investment Bank’s financial arm for the Mediterranean, and the Principality of Monaco, held the sixth FEMIP conference, on the subject of “Sustainable Water Financing and Climate Change in the Mediterranean”, in Monaco today. Inaugurated by HSH Prince Albert II and hosted by EIB Vice-President Philippe de Fontaine Vive, it brought together policymakers from the two sides of the Mediterranean, water specialists and representatives of financial institutions and international organisations.
Water: a Mediterranean and global strategic challenge
20 million people in the Mediterranean region do not have access to drinking water and 47 million are not connected to a sewerage system. Worldwide, more than 1.1 billion people are deprived of this vital resource. But secure access to water for households, agriculture and industry is key to economic development and social cohesion. Improved water and sanitation is one of the eight Millennium Development Goals, which aim to reduce by half the proportion of the world population that does not have secure access to treated water by 2015.
The water sector is also a priority for FEMIP, which since 2003 has granted loans totalling over EUR 700 million for projects facilitating people’s access to water resources in the southern Mediterranean. In 2008, in partnership with Plan Bleu, FEMIP published a study confirming that the southern shore of the Mediterranean will be more affected by climate change than most other parts of the world over the course of this century. The study also identified the measures and technological solutions that need to be put in place in order to mitigate the long-term impact on economic and social development as far as possible.
Three recommendations emerging from the conference
- The local and international private sector must be involved in water financing: Rehabilitating water infrastructure in the southern Mediterranean is a necessity that requires the know-how and financial support of the local and international private sector alongside the public sector.
- Integrated water management requires general awareness-raising: Lawmakers and policymakers share responsibility for raising the awareness of citizens and consumers, local authorities and businesses of the looming crisis of water shortages. Solutions have to be comprehensive and integrated.
- Optimising the political and economic dimension of water policy in the framework of the Union for the Mediterranean: The increasing scarcity of available water resources is a potential source of conflict and threatens to have an adverse impact on economic activity. The Union for the Mediterranean represents an important framework for promoting projects of shared interest and meeting the major challenges faced by the water sector in this part of the world.
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