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Round Table Dialogue with European Commission March 18, Grand Hotel Sofia

How to reach sustainable and cost-effective sanitation and waste water treatment in Bulgarian and Romanian rural areas?

16.03.2010 |Claudia Wendland

Munich, 15 March 2010 - In the new EU member states, a large percentage of people are living in rural areas. In Bulgaria, almost all inhabitants are served by centralised drinking water supply but 98% of the villages do not have any adequate wastewater collection or treatment. In Romania, many people in rural areas rely on private wells for drinking water and pit latrines. The unsafe sanitation and wastewater system sets public health at risk and pollutes groundwater and surface waters. A high-level dialogue with European decision makers will propose concrete solutions.

On 18th of March 2010, Women in Europe for a Common Future, WECF e.V. in cooperation with Earth Forever in Bulgaria is going to carry out a High-Level-Round Table discussion on sustainable and cost-effective sanitation and waste water treatment in rural areas of Bulgaria and Romania. The participation of more than 50 national political decision makers, stakeholders and international experts is expected in Sofia.

In the EU the construction of wastewater collection and treatment is required by the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive (UWWTD) and the Water Framework Directive (WFD) but the construction of conventional sewage collection and treatment is unaffordable, particularly in small rural commu¬nities.  A number of well known wastewater experts from Germany, UK, Belgium, Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, etc. will take part. European Commission will be presented by DG Environment. World Health Organisation will be represented. The newest survey on sanitation status and typology of Bulgarian villages will be presented - funded by Bulgarian Ministry of Agriculture and Food and conducted by the Belgian company Sher. A number of ministries, regional agencies and municipal administrations, companies and NGOs from Bulgaria and Romania also take part. The expected results after the discussion at the Round Table are the following:

  • Information and raising awareness on the sustainable decentralised sanitation and wastewater treatment systems and reuse
  • Start of a policy dialogue with the goal to regulate and promote affordable, sustainable, decentralised solutions for wastewater treatment in rural areas

About WECF
A healthy Environment for All is the main mission of WECF, Women in Europe for a Common Future. WECF is a network of a hundred women's and environmental organisations in 40 countries. Our network spans Western Europe and the EECCA region (Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia). WECF has three offices: in the Netherlands, Germany and France. WECF mobilises women to find affordable solutions to the environmental health problems in their communities and encourages women in decision making : www.wecf.eu

WECF is partner of the Sustainable Sanitation Alliance - SuSanA

Note for the editors:

For more information please contact:  Dr.-Ing. Claudia Wendland, phone: +49 172 414 3901, claudia.wendland@wecf.eu
Mrs. Chantal van den Bossche, press officer WECF +31-6.2812 9992, chantal.vandenbossche@wecf.eu.

More information:
Information sheet on the project
Discussion paper as background
Guidance paper
Presentation Helmut Bloech  at WECF side event Stockholm 2008
article from Helmut Bloech in Journal for Environmental Law
Presentation Helmut Bloech on EU Legislative Framework

This project is funded by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety and the German Federal Environment Agency in the frame of the Advisory Assistance Programme for Environmental Protection in the Countries of Central and Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia

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