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Brussels, 13 March 2012

Statement by Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik on the Ministerial Declaration of the 6th World Water Forum

On the second day of the 6th World Water Forum in Marseille, EU Commissioner for the Environment Janez Potočnik endorsed the Ministerial Declaration on Water on behalf of the European Union, together with ministerial delegations from more than 100 countries.

Commissioner Potočnik explained that the Declaration's main aims – access to safe drinking water and sanitation, available water resources for food security and energy production, integrating policies, cooperation and financing at national and international level to meet the water challenges – are in line with and complementary to EU policies.

He added, "I trust today's Declaration will be used by all parties to convey this message at the Rio +20 Conference, which will be an excellent opportunity to put water on top of national and international agendas. The Declaration supports EU objectives for water, green economy, the implementation of the Rio Conventions, improved governance and international cooperation.

I am pleased to see the focus on integrated river basin management, the need to mainstream water policy objectives into other policy areas, and the importance of taking full account of the interconnected challenges that affect the food, water and energy sectors. The Declaration also underlines the importance of addressing water problems through development cooperation policy, and its support to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals is especially welcome."

The EU has agreed that water, particularly water efficiency, should be one of the top five priority areas in which clear operational targets with agreed time frames should be addressed at Rio.

The EU is committed to sustainable water management, and to ensuring good quality. Despite good progress over recent decades, the EU still faces considerable problems with water quality and quantity. The Declaration contains messages that will be taken up in the "Blueprint to Safeguard Europe's Water Resources" a strategic document that will put forward policy recommendations for the future EU freshwater policy later this year. The Blueprint will identify current gaps and future priorities, steer water policy development until 2020, using an analysis that integrates economic and climate modelling till 2050.

Also present at the World Water Forum were Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs, Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard and International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva.

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