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CM/Cong(2009)Rec259 prov 17 November 20091
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1074 Meeting, 13 January 2010
9 Sustainable development

9.1 “Public water and sewer services for sustainable development” Recommendation 259 (2009) of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe
Draft reply

Item to be prepared by the GR-C at its meeting on 8 December 2009

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To facilitate discussions during the GR-C meeting, delegations are invited to submit any comments or proposed amendments on this text in writing to the Committee of Ministers’ Secretariat (katerine.anderson@coe.int) by 7 December 2009 at 1.00 p.m.

1. The Committee of Ministers has examined Congress Recommendation 259 (2009) on “Public water and sewer services for sustainable development”. It has brought the recommendation to the attention of governments of member states. It has also transmitted it to the European Committee on Local and Regional Democracy (CDLR), the Council of Europe Conference of Ministers responsible for Spatial/Regional Planning (CEMAT) and to the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB). The European Commission is equally aware of the recommendation through its regular participation in the work of the Committee of Ministers.

2. In the general context of sustainable development and a healthy environment, the Committee of Ministers is aware of the importance of water policies which ensure access for all, particularly those in need, to water services and sanitation, a position which it highlighted in its message to the 4th World Water Forum (Mexico City, 16-22 March 2006).2 In this respect, it counts mainly on the activities of the CEMAT, which are for their part directed by the Guiding Principles for sustainable spatial development of the European continent, adopted by the 12th session of the CEMAT in 2000, and which the Committee of Ministers endorsed in its Recommendation Rec(2002)1.

3. In this respect, the Congress’ attention is drawn to the work underway for a draft resolution on the contribution of essential services to the sustainable spatial development of the European continent to be submitted to the 15th session of the CEMAT (Moscow, 2010). The Committee of Senior Officials of the CEMAT, entrusted with the preparations of that text, has expressed its intention to take the present recommendation into account in that work, in line with the Congress’ recommendation in paragraph 14.a.
On the other hand, it is not envisaged that the issues mentioned by the Congress in paragraph 14.6 of its recommendation be placed among the immediate priorities of the CDLR.

4. Finally, the Committee of Ministers would draw the Congress’s attention to the comments of the Council of Europe Development Bank (cf. Appendix 1) which brings concrete elements of response to the recommendation in paragraph 14.c.

Appendix 1 to the reply

Comments by the Governing Board of the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB)

The Governing Board examined Congress Recommendation 259 (2009) recommending that the Committee of Ministers “ask the Council of Europe Development Bank to support projects fostering public water and sewer services through its lending and financing policy”.

The Governing Board wishes to emphasise that the CEB undertakes constantly sustainable action promoting prevention and protection of the environment and responding systematically to emergency situations in the event of natural and ecological disasters.

The CEB supports projects fostering public water and sewer services within its sectors of action. In particular, in the sector of protecting the environment, the CEB finances projects concerned with the reduction and treatment of solid and liquid waste; clean-up and protection of surface and underground water; decontamination of soils and aquifers. These projects must concern populations defined at local and regional level.

In the sector of improving living conditions in urban and rural areas, as well as in the sector of housing for low-income persons, the CEB finances the construction or rehabilitation of infrastructure, including water mains, sewers and the treatment of solid and liquid waste.

In the period 2004-2008, the CEB approved more than 700 million euros of financing for projects directly related to fostering public water and sewer services.

The CEB also signed, on 30 May 2006, the Declaration of European Principles for the Environment. This declaration associates the European Commission and several other IFI in a joint effort, among others “to provide financing to public or private sponsors of projects […] where the projects comply with the EU Directives related to […] water and waste management.”

The Governing Board also decided to bring this recommendation to the attention of the Administrative Council which is responsible for approving projects.

Appendix 2 to the reply

Comments by the Committee of Senior Officials of the Council of Europe Conference of Ministers responsible for Spatial/Regional Planning (CEMAT)

The Committee of Senior Officials of the CEMAT:

– Thanks the Committee of Ministers for consulting it on Recommendation 259 (2009) of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe on “Public water and sewer services for sustainable development”;

– Shares the concern of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe;

– Relies on texts adopted at the 11th Session of the CEMAT on “Sustainable regional and spatial planning in Europe and the protection of water resources” (Cyprus, October 1997), as well as on the Guiding principles for the sustainable spatial development of the European Continent of the CEMAT (Recommendation Rec. (2002) 1 of the Committee of Ministers to Member States), which expound in the 6th Principle titled “Enhancing and protecting natural resources and the natural heritage”: “Integrated strategies for managing water resources should include, among other things, the protection of surface and ground water, monitoring farmers’ use of fertilisers and irrigation, sewage treatment, and so on. Inter-regional transfers of water should only be considered when the local resources are insufficient or cannot be used at an economically reasonable price. In order to protect the quality of drinking water from underground sources, it is essential to ensure that any expansion in water supply networks is matched by an equivalent increase in drainage and sewage treatment and disposal facilities.” (Paragraph 39).

– Points out that a draft resolution on “The contribution of essential services to the sustainable spatial development of the European Continent” is in preparation for the 15th Session of the CEMAT (Moscow, 2010) on “Future challenges: sustainable development of the European continent in a changing world”; decide to take account of the recommendation of the Congress for the work in progress.

1 This document has been classified restricted at the date of issue; it will be declassified in accordance with Resolution Res(2001)6 on access to Council of Europe documents.

2 CM/AS(2006)Rec1731 final.


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