Water has a major role in maintaining peace and political stability across borders. Water is a prerequisite for human survival and dignity and a fundamental basis for the resilience of both societies and the environment. Water is vital for human nutrition and health, and essential for ecosystem management, agriculture, energy and overall planetary security.
A key objective of EU water diplomacy is to engage for the long term in fostering cooperative approaches to address the transboundary challenges of water. Good examples of such cooperation already exist in Africa and in Latin America. Cooperation on shared water resources is vital to securing lasting peace and sustainable development.
The EU and UNECE have a common agenda in making the Water Convention a tool for peace and stability. The EU supports shared management of transboundary waters to foster regional integration and accompany integrated approaches (agriculture, energy, domestic, environmental). In Central Asia, it is promising to see changes, such as in Tajikistan, towards the concept of transboundary Integrated Water Resources Management.
The EU continues to support the globalisation of the Water Convention through a 3-year contract signed in 2019 (€3 million). This support has been renewed for 2022-2024 (€3 million). This support will stand as one of our commitments on transboundary management at the UN 2023 Water conference.
The EU's role
The EU has the most advanced legal and policy framework on water (particularly on water quality and flood prevention). Combined with technological pre-eminence, the EU, together with its Member States, is one of the leading international donors of development and humanitarian aid for water and sanitation.
All EU external actions are guided by the EU human rights guidelines on safe drinking water and sanitation. Given the EU expertise in water legislation, water research and innovation, and strong external engagement, the EU can claim a policy steering role in international dialogues.
The EU's objective is to guide global action on water, developing a global consensus and a shared understanding of the importance of achieving greater water resilience.
Based on the core objectives of the EU acquis on water, the European Green Deal as well as relevant external policies and EU research programmes, the EU promotes a vision that by 2050, society will be water resilient, offering water security for all. This entails the protection and restoration of aquatic ecosystems, and a fair balance between water supply and water demand responding to current needs, including the realisation of the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation without compromising the rights of future generations.
The Team Europe Initiative on Transboundary Water Management in Africa (TEI-TWM) provides a framework for coordinated action between EU Member States, EU institutions and African partners. The TEI’s main objective is to enhance transboundary water management to support development and regional integration.
The TEI is aligned with the Global Gateway strategy and Africa's development agenda 2063 'The Africa We Want' which targets inclusive growth and sustainable development, water governance and management and the continental priorities to ensure water security, reduce climate change related impacts and leave no one behind.
The Team Europe Initiative on Water-Energy-Climate Change in Central Asia is supporting Central Asian countries in their transition to a greener and interconnected regional energy market. The regional TEI will support Central Asian countries in scaling up their energy cooperation with a focus on transboundary resources management and the facilitation of green energy investments.
Water diplomacy Council conclusions – 19 November 2018
Enhanced regional cooperation on Environment, Climate Change and Water
Transboundary Water Management in Africa | Team Europe Initiative and Joint Programming tracker (europa.eu)
Water-Energy-Climate Change in Central Asia | Team Europe Initiative and Joint Programming tracker (europa.eu)