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Policy Activities


WECF contributes to achieving access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene for all. WECF participates in the following policy processes, which focus entirely or partly on the issues of water and sanitation:

UN policy processes

Global conferences

EU policy processes


Water & Health Protocol (UNECE and WHO)

WECF is one of the main NGO networks, in cooperation with the European Eco-Forum, to provide input into the Water&Health protocol under the Transboundary Water Convention. The Water and Health protocol is facilitated by the UNECE (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe) and World Health Organisation – Europe. The protocol has a regional focus, parties are countries from Europe, Caucasus, Central Asia, and South Eastern Europe (see W&H protocol).

The main aim of the Protocol is to protect human health and wellbeing by improving water management, including the protection of water ecosystems, and by preventing, controlling and reducing water-related diseases. The Protocol is the first international agreement of its kind adopted specifically to attain an adequate supply of safe drinking water and adequate sanitation for everyone, and effectively protect water used as a source of drinking water.To meet these goals, its Parties are required to establish national and local targets for the quality of drinking water and the quality of discharges, as well as for the performance of water supply and waste-water treatment. They are also required to reduce outbreaks and the incidence of water-related diseases. This Protocol introduces a social component into the cooperation on water management. Water resources management should link social and economic development to the protection of natural ecosystems. Moreover, improving the water supply and sanitation is fundamental in breaking the vicious cycle of poverty. WECF and its members presented their achievements during MOP1 (January 2008), Taskforce Meeting (July 2009), and the Protocol’s 10th Anniversary meeting in Parma (March 2010). WECF was one of the 4 main organisers of the public participation in the Water & Health protocol conference, - together  with the Romanian Ministry of Water, the UNECE secretariat and GWP Romania – in Bucharest, June 2010.

Transboundary Water Convention (UNECE)

WECF is one of the main NGO networks, in cooperation with the European Eco-Forum, to provide input into the Transboundary Water Convention. The Transboundary water convention is facilitated by the UNECE (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe) and is a regional convention focussing on countries in Europe, Caucasus, Central Asia, and South Eastern Europe (see Convention website). The Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (Water Convention) is intended to strengthen national measures for the protection and ecologically sound management of transboundary surface waters and groundwaters.The Convention obliges Parties to prevent, control and reduce water pollution from point and non-point sources. It also includes provisions for monitoring, research and development, consultations, warning and alarm systems, mutual assistance, institutional arrangements, and the exchange and protection of information, as well as public access to information.

WECF facilitates and coordinates participation of member and partner organisations in the water convention process. WECF, members and partners, organise presentations of solutions recommended by women and environment organisations and present their work in exhibition stands. WECF is active in the European Eco-Forum, an alliance of environmental NGOs following the process.

CSD (United Nations Commission for Sustainable Development)

WECF follows the United Nations Commission for Sustainable Development, which monitors the implementation of the Rio 1992 Earth Summit agreements. Since the WSSD in Johannesburg 2002, the CSD operates with bi-annual thematic cycles. WECF contributed to the 2-year cycle on water and sanitation, with side events and interventions for the women’s major group, see CSD pages.

International Year of Sanitation (2008)

Each year, the member states of the UN decide upon one or several themes (requiring particular attention), to which the year is dedicated. WECF contributed to the International Year of Sanitation (2008) with 2 high level policy events, one in Brussels, with representative of the European Commission and European Parliament, and one at the Stockholm World Water Week.

UNSGAB Water & Sanitation

WECF was invited to present its work to the high level regional conference organised by the United Nations Secretary General on Water & Sanitation, in 2009. The UNGAB is an exclusive group of advisors to the United Nations Secretary General (currently Ban Ki Moon).

Millennium Development Goals

Millennium Development Goal 7 for Environment, sets as a goal to the reduction of the number of people without access to water and sanitation by 50% by 2015.  Currently 1.8 billion people do not have access to drinking water and 2.7 do not have access to sanitation. Progress is particularly slow for the sanitation target. Sometimes, creating access to sanitation can have a negative impact on the quality of drinking water. WECF has presented its work in this area in the policy statement “the Right to Sanitation”. WECF contributed to the “Water for Life” high level conference on MDG7 organised by the government of Tajikistan (June 2010).

World Water Forum

Every 3 years, the international water sector meets at the World Water Forum. WECF has actively contributed to the WWF’s in the Hague (2000), Kyoto (2003), Mexico (2006) and Istanbul (2009). WECF contributed to the writing of the European Regional Report (Mexico, Johannesburg). WECF organised official events and special sessions, see Kyoto, Mexico, Istanbul.

World Water Week (Stockholm)

Every year, the international water sector meets at the World Water Week in Stockholm. WECF is represented by its water coordinators and representatives of member organisations. WECF organised the high level event on Sanitation in 2008, with the participation of your Highness the Prince of Orange.

EU Water Framework Directive / Urban Waste Water Directive / Drinking Water Directive / Nitrate Directive

WECF contributes to the implementation of the EU directives on water and wastewater, through its practical projects in the new member states. Policy recommendations from the lessons learned are presented to the European Commission through letters to the Commissioner for Environment, organisation of high level policy events (see Brussels, Stockholm), publications and organising dialogues with representatives of the European Commission (Sofia 2010).

EC Technical Working group on reuse of waste water

WECF was a member of the technical working group of the European Commission sharing experience and preparing policy recommendations on the re-use of wastewater.