This seminar, opened by GWP Patron HRH Prince Willem-Alexander, Chair of United Nations UNSGAB on 19 August, addresses the lack of access to safe and affordable sanitation for more than 20 million citizens in the European Union.
Unchanged, current legislation and funding programmes will leave these 20 million people behind.
Despite more than EUR 336 billion in Cohesion Funds going to new EU member states, hardly any funds address the needs of the poorest living in small rural communities.
The usual system of pit latrines causes groundwater pollution in many villages which depend on wells for drinking water.
The numerous health effects include regular outbreaks of viral hepatitis, blue baby syndrome and diarrhoea. Children and women are often most affected.
The proposed alternatives are not affordable for households with a monthly income or pension of not more than EUR 50-100.
The seminar will bring together key decision makers from policy and industry to look at barriers and solutions. The seminar will build on the conclusions of a high level seminar in Brussels earlier this year.
The Ministers of Environment of Sweden and Finland will present the examples of their wastewater codes of single households and the Helcom agreement of December 2007 as possible policy instruments to extend to the rest of the EU.
Their colleagues from Bulgaria and Romania will respond. Speakers from new Member States will present alternative affordable solutions.
Speakers from the financial sector will address funding mechanisms. An action plan for the sector will be developed.
The seminar convenors include Women in Europe for a Common Future (WECF), Global Water Partnership Central and Eastern Europe (GWP CEE), Coalition Clean Baltic, Earth Forever, Bulgaria, Euroteleorman Romania and Creative Slovakia.