19/01/21Global Issues 

A stronger ‘Team Europe’ approach will accelerate SDG6 progress

A stronger ‘Team Europe’ approach focused on solutions will accelerate SDG6 progress

18 January 2021

Press release in the margin of the "Water and Beyond" conference

A stronger ‘Team Europe’ approach to tackling the fundamental problems facing the development of water and sanitation globally will help get SDG6 back on track, according to AquaFed.

The EU must be a more active leader and organiser to further enable European partners to improve the structural weaknesses of the water sector that have blocked progress for so long - weak governance and regulation, lack of local skills and capability and insufficient sustainable finance.

At the landmark EU “Water and Beyond” conference today (18 January), Annelise Avril (Senior Vice President, Research, Innovation and Digital Transformation, Suez) spoke for AquaFed at the High-Level Opening Session and explained the role of private water operators.

Ms Avril, said: “We share the same passion for water and we believe that partnerships are really a catalyst to make a significant progress towards SDG6.”

“The areas where we all together could do better are pace, moving faster on things like policy;  and scale, creating bigger impact.”

“The three Enablers to move faster and achieve greater scale are governance & regulation, increasing local skills and capabilities; and more innovative finance.”

On governance and regulation, AquaFed believes EU policymaking has to be faster – for example the water reuse regulation published in May 2020 took five years. Also, regarding projects and contracts, more flexibility is needed to implement new solutions and innovations because Terms of Reference are often very prescriptive and conservative

Regarding developing local skills and capabilities, Ms Avril gave two very concrete examples of how her organisation had worked with local stakeholders and partners in India and Senegal to further enhance their water and sanitation projects. One was an open innovation program with a university, where issues/topics are identified by local communities and result in call for ideas, involving students. Another is the development of a research and development centre also in partnership with a university, to focus on the development of nature-based solutions and digital solutions in the context of climate change.

Ms Avril reminded the audience about the collaboration that AquaFed members are already involved in, eg UN Water, the SWA and World Water Council.  She also mentioned the useful European partnerships that already exist on innovation and technology such as Horizon 2020 calls for projects, LIFE programs and the collaboration in Water Europe. 

Finally, she mentioned the ongoing achievements of modern Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) in water and sanitation around the world. Ms Avril added: “Modern PPPs are performing well, focusing on delivering new solutions to increase the efficiency and resilience of the water and sanitation services, with a broad range of contractual models such as technical assistance, performance-based contracts, alliances and mixed companies.”

For more information, contact:
Neil Dhot
00 44 7780 979499

About AquaFed
AquaFed is the international federation of private water operators. We bring together more than 300 water companies operating in more than 40 countries including European member states. Collectively our members serve around 100 million people in the EU. Over 1 billion people count on private operators to serve them on a daily basis. AquaFed and its members are strongly committed to provide continuously the best quality services to all its customers We are a UN accredited body and are in the EU transparency register.