Statement by the EWM following its meeting in Lyon

Lyon, April 4-6 2024

Water for all, Water for Peace. At its annual meeting, the European Water Movement reaffirms the public and democratic governance of this vital resource, to be preserved as a common good against any privatization, commodification, war and grabbing.

In front of environmental, social and political emergencies, natural patrimony and water resources must be preserved through prevention and protection. In the face of scarcity, drought and flooding, guarantee of water for everyone must have priority over excessive or illegitimate industrial or agricultural use. It’s imperative to restore disturbed/destroyed ecosystems, and the quality of water dramatically polluted by chemical inputs, PFAS, microplastics, among others. To this end support to the agro-ecological transition must be assured and strict measures must be adopted regarding the use and dumping of toxics.

Implementation of the human right to water and sanitation for all requires the exclusion of water from liberalization, commodification, financialization and grabbing. Governance of water must be public, transparent and participative, with an active role of citizens and workers. Supported and accompanied by public-public partnerships, it must assure affordability, quality of services and investment in infrastructures and maintenance to reduce network leakages.

Countries that are in the process of joining the EU, especially the Balkan ones, must not be sacrificial zones. Their water bodies are part of the European water system and must be preserved by the risk of devastating mining projects; EU neighborhood cannot be reduced just to a source of extraction of critical materials.

The European Water Movement is extremely concerned about the present state of war and crescendo of conflicts where water plays a key role. Water cannot be used as a geopolitical tool, or worse, as a weapon of war, as in Palestine, Syria-Iraq, Ukraine, Turkey and other regions. The European Water Movement reaffirms its unwavering support for these populations and their refugees. It asks for an immediate ceasefire on all fronts of war and joins the UN’s “Water for Peace” appeal.

It expresses also concern about the increasing militarization of the society and demand the stop and an active contrast to the criminalization and discrediting of movements defending the commons and fundamental rights and, more in general, of dissent and freedom of information and speech.

The above instances have been expressed in an open letter to the EU institutions, to the elected representatives and to the candidates in the next European elections, asking for an immediate resuming of the Water Resilience Initiative, articulated on such points.

Making peace with (the) water !

Lisbon, 21 March 2024


At a time when humanity is experiencing great dangers, where new conflicts and military aggressions persist and emerge and the predatory action of the great powers in the dispute over natural resources is increasingly aggressive, the theme chosen by the United Nations to celebrate World Water Day, which is celebrated on 22 March, "Water for Peace", could not be more topical.

Of course, it's not water itself that creates peace or triggers conflicts, but rather its unequal distribution and control, the root of co-operation and conflict over it. By prioritising the interests of multinationals and financial groups, and the consumption of those who can afford it, rather than the needs of the people, workers, small farmers and the poorest, global water management is failing to fulfil the UN's vision of "Water for Peace".

The injustices in this area continue to be manifold: more than two billion people do not have access to drinking water at home; 3.6 billion do not have access to sanitation; 80 per cent of all wastewater is disposed of without treatment.


European Water Movement Condemns Siege on Gaza and Urges Respect for Human Rights and International Law

29 october 2023

The European Water Movement (EWM) strongly condemns the ongoing siege and denial of water and other basic necessities to the people of Gaza by the Israeli government. We call upon all actors involved to respect human rights and international law in their actions.


Stop killing and atrocities in Gaza and in all the occupied territories

The European Water Movement (EWM) strongly condemns the ongoing invasion of Gaza, the massacre, injury and mutilation of innocent civilians, almost half of whom are children, the denial of water, food, fuel, medical care and other essentials, the repression, segregation and systematic destruction of homes of Palestinians in all the occupied territory and asks for :

  • an immediate ceasefire
  • end to any violence against population
  • humanitarian corridors
  • end of Israel’s colonization and apartheid regime
  • recognition of the right to self-determination of Palestinian people.


The European Water Movement in the Face of the European Economic and Social Committee's Blue Deal Initiative

Photo credits: EESC 

The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), a consultative body of the European Union (EU), is promoting an initiative to develop a global approach to European water policies. This proposal aims to materialize in a Declaration to be delivered to the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union at the high-level conference "Call for an EU Blue Deal" in October 2023, during the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the EU. The EESC's objective is for water to be one of the next EU Commission's top priorities.

Taking into account the relevance of this initiative, the European Water Movement specifies below its position in this regard, identifying the main challenges and its proposals for action related to water in the EU, all to influence the process of development and implementation of the Blue Deal.