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Climate Change requires new model of solidarity

Oct 12th, 2010 |

Brussels, October 2010.  On the occasion of the Local Government’s Day entitled “Cities adapt: local water strategies in a changing climate”, which took place in Munich, Germany, on the 13th of September 2010, European local and regional representatives called for a new model of solidarity between EU Member States, cities, provinces and regions. Mr. Tom Vereijken, Chairman of the European Water Partnership (EWP), presented the European perspective during the event, stressing the need for stronger cooperation in order to successfully adapt water management to the impacts of climate change.

Water is best managed when keeping the whole of the river basin in mind and the same applies to the impacts of climate change on water systems when these cannot be handled by local and regional authorities alone. It is crucial that sub-national governments join forces with their peers in other cities and regions, their national governments, and the European Union, as well as with the scientific and private sector. This model of solidarity would facilitate the sharing of data and knowledge, developing technical expertise and finding the necessary financial resources.

During the event local political representatives stressed the importance of their cities’ involvement in European research projects to enable mutual and cross-disciplinary learning. In fact, collaboration with researchers is indispensable. Local decision-makers must dispose of reliable data and well-founded projections for the future before giving the green light to launch new strategies suitable to cope with uncertainties. A solid knowledge base will also attract the business sector, which can be instrumental in accelerating the up-take of technical solutions.

Climate change impacts on local water systems can also not solely be addressed by water management experts. The integrated planning at local and regional levels is vital to ensure the sound adaptation of water strategies to climate change. Several examples from cities and regions in Austria, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and Norway, have demonstrated the benefits of cooperation with a wide range of diverse local and regional stakeholders. Such cooperation implies that all parties are able and willing to identify their common points of interest and to join their capacities and resources.

The “Local Government Day” was part of the IFAT ENTSORGA, the International Trade Fair for Water, Sewage, Refuse and Recycling and organized with the support of the German Association for Water, Wastewater and Waste.

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