European Development Days discuss water and sanitation

WaterAid is taking part in four exciting events at the European Development Days, 26 and 27 November, 2013. Engage with our experts in Brussels or online.


26 Nov 2013

The European Development Days (EDDs) are a platform for the global development community to come together to share ideas and best practices.

The two-day conference is organised by the European Commission and takes place in Brussels, Belgium, on November 26 and 27, 2013.

This year the EDDs will focus on the future of development and what should follow the Millennium Development Goals, which expire in 2015.

Around 6,000 stakeholders will attend the EDDs, including figures of global importance such as United Nations Deputy Secretary-General and former Chair of WaterAid Sweden, Jan Eliasson, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and President of Malawi, Joyce Banda.

WaterAid will participate in two events on the first day of the conference, plus two additional events:

Tuesday 26 November, 12:00 - 13:15 GMT: Supporting fragile states in post-2015: how can basic services such as water and sanitation support governance in fragile states?

Tuesday 26 November, 17:15 - 18:30 GMT: Joining up on health: integrated approaches to health and the post-2015 framework

Wednesday 27 November:  BBC World Service, The Forum
The Forum is BBC World Service Radio's flagship discussion programme. WaterAid has been invited to participate in an edition of the programme about Food and Water Security to be recorded at the European Development Days 2013.

Deputy Chief Executive Girish Menon has accepted the invitation on behalf of WaterAid, and will take part in the discussion, chaired by Bridget Kendall, the BBC's Diplomatic Correspondent.

The Forum is broadcast on the BBC World Service, which reaches 180 million worldwide each week.

Thursday 28 November (am): DROI/DEVE hearing
The European Parliament Committee on Development (DEVE) and Sub-committee on Human Rights (DROI) are holding a joint hearing on access to safe drinking water and sanitation, with emphasis on the human rights obligations. This will take place in one of the committee rooms at the European Parliament, Brussels. WaterAid's Head of Campaigns, Kate Norgrove, will take part on behalf of WaterAid.

The European Parliament passed a strong and comprehensive resolution on water and sanitation, the European Parliament resolution on water management in developing countries and priorities for EU development cooperation, in 2003.

In March 2009 the European Parliament voted to declare "that water is a shared resource of mankind and that access to drinking water should constitute a fundamental and universal right."

In January 2011, DROI and DEVE held a public hearing on the right to water and sanitation. The speakers included Finnish Green MEP Heidi Hautala, British Conservative MEP Nirj Deva, and Catarina de Albuquerque.

In 2012, the Sub-committee on Human Rights commissioned a briefing paper on water and sanitation and development cooperation. The paper makes the following recommendations:

  • The European Commission should maintain its focus on water and sanitation in international development and include the sector as an element of its Agenda for Change alongside sustainable agriculture and energy.
  • The EU should engage in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and post-2015 MDGs process to ensure that future goals and targets are rights-sensitive, including the rights to water and sanitation.
  • The EU should commission assessments of its water and sanitation projects and programmes from the perspective of human rights with the aim of catalysing discussion and the development of appropriate policies, guidelines and practices.
  • As a party to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the EU should examine how it can introduce a disability rights perspective into its water and sanitation programming support.
  • The EU should review loan, grant and trade negotiation policies concerning privatisation and public-private partnerships in the water sector and assess whether human rights criteria are being met.
  • The EU should ensure that support provided to States for legal reforms in the water sector and to civil society organisations for public interest litigation include a focus on the right to water and sanitation.
  • The European Parliament should adopt a follow-up resolution on the right to water in light of its earlier recommendations in 2003. 

We will be sharing our experiences of delivering water and sanitation in Niger, the largest country in West Africa, where over half the population still doesn't have access to safe water, and presenting new research on the role of water and sanitation in fighting global health challenges.

If you want to ask a question to our panelists on the Joining up on health session, tweet @wateraid using the hashtag #EDD13_health.

Follow @wateraid for highlights of the EDDs.