The Committee of the Regions calls for harnessing potential and networking on the issue of water

In the framework of the Water Forum and in order to prepare the Rio+20 summit, the Committee of the Regions (CoR) president, Mercedes Bresso and CoR vice-president Valcárcel Siso asked to encourage networking on the issue of water, both within Europe and in the broader perspective of sustainable development at a global level.

Mercedes Bresso, President of the Committee of the Regions (CoR), asked, in order to prepare the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development ("Rio +20") due to be held from 20 to 22 June, to focus the Rio Summit negotiations on political priorities that have been carefully selected and clearly identified so that they can be the driving force of a broader dynamic movement in the field of sustainable development. In addition, Ms Bresso highlighted the catalytic role that an ambitious global agenda for water could play. Recently, it has been published an EU study which shows that large areas in Spain and Eastern Europe have less than 200 mm freshwater available every year.

In this context, the CoR President has proposed during the Water Forum held in Marseille, a geographical extension of the Covenant of Mayors to a 'Worldwide Covenant of Mayors' going beyond the boundaries of Europe. The Covenant, which is a voluntary scheme based on binding commitments and benefiting from a monitoring and support platform at European level, already works in the areas of the climate and energy. Ms Bresso also confirmed that the CoR has already proposed the expansion of the Covenant to include the issue of water.

On the other hand, CoR vice-president Valcárcel Siso stressed the need for greater efficiency in its management require research into innovative measures, the integrated management of water resources and synergies between cities and regions at watershed boundaries because water is the future of European economy.