On October 26, 2023, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) adopted its call for a new comprehensive water strategy for Europe – an EU “Blue Deal”. RETOUCH NEXUS took part in the high-level conference “Call for an EU Blue Deal”, during which the EESC presented its work and exchanged views with high-level representatives of other EU institutions, water experts and key stakeholders on the most pressing water-related challenges today and in the years to come, and on the state of play of existing policies and actions.

Context of the conference*

While in 2010, the UN General Assembly recognised the human right to water and sanitation, globally around 2.2 billion people still lack access to safely managed drinking water. Water stress is a major and growing concern also in Europe. 60% of European cities have experienced water scarcity and it is projected that water scarcity will increase by 35% by 2070 if no action is taken. Without action, water poverty will concern ever larger parts of civil societies around the world, with far-reaching implications for economic, social, and political stability.

Given the current and future water challenges the world and our continent are facing, the EESC, as the voice of Europe’s organised civil society, strongly believes that Europe needs an ambitious, comprehensive and forward-looking common approach to water policies. A change of scale is needed at EU level. This is why the EESC has selected water as its cross-cutting initiative in 2023 and will call on the other institutions of the European Union to join efforts and make the EU Blue Deal a key priority for the next legislative mandate.

*extract from the event page