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MEP Water Group Public session on the role of water in adaptation to climate change

Thursday, 15 December 2016 Posted in Events, News, BeWater News

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Under the theme ‘The role of water in Adaptation to Climate Change’, the MEP Water Group organised a well attended public session on the 6th of December at the European Parliament in Brussels.

The session was chaired by Esther de Lange, President of the MEP Water Group and featured four high-level panellists who stressed the importance of water, while addressing the topic of adaptation to climate change.

‘Climate change is not a product of our fantasy but it is a real fact, which brings along as many challenges as opportunities’ said Esther de Lange in her opening remarks, after welcoming the participants of the session. Esther continued, noting that 'The 2013 Strategy on Adaptation to climate change is now being evaluated and we need to make sure that water is well anchored to the planned review of this strategy.'

Yvon Slingenberg, Head of Unit in the Directorate General for Climate Action of the European Commission(EC) underlined that the connection between the EC and the European Parliament is extremely important on taking climate actions forward to the member states. Additionally, Yvon stated that ‘Mitigation and adaption actions have the same importance and the member states will be requested to actively contribute to the relevant actions and implement the national adaptation strategies aligned with existing water policies and directives.’ Cities and regions are crucial actors to implement adaptation measures and to raise the awareness of member states on the effects of climate change.

Gian Luca Gurrieri, Head of Unit - Air Quality and Climate policy in Lombardy Region spoke about the vulnerability of Lombardy region to climate changes because of its geological and infrastructural characteristics and highlighted that climate change policy developed at regional and local level is very complex. Gurrieri, also, stressed the need for a systemic organisation of water recourses for the management of floods and draughts.

Jacob Møller Nielsen, Director for Urban Development from the City of Copenhagen added that water management should be directly and inherently linked to city development, as well as included in the urban and business plans.The Business alliance for Water and Climate (BAFWAC) was, also, represented by Jean-Pierre Maugendre, Deputy Director for Sustainable Development, SUEZ, who indicated water resource management as one of the main priorities of the alliance in the united effort to decrease the dramatic effects of climate change.

Before the closure of the session, all speakers agreed that the EU needs to send out strong messages when it comes to climate change and that we all need to preserve the value of water for the future. The panel discussion was followed by Q&A from the audience and concluded with a cocktail reception.

Source: MEP Water Group