The Government of Slovenia and the European Commission Directorate-General for International Partnerships opened a four-day conference on water 18 January, with the support of Portugal as the current European Union (EU) Council President.
The "Water and Beyond: EU transformative approaches for international partnerships" conference considered transformative approaches to mobilise water investments, strengthen partnerships and improve communication between countries in order to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement.
In his welcome speech, Slovenia State Secretary Stanislav Raščan pledged that Slovenia will continue to prioritise water and its role in external relations during its EU Council Presidency in the second half of 2021.
Mr Raščan went on to say that: “There is ample space for the EU water diplomacy to play a stronger role in promoting sustainable inclusive water management and cooperation, mediating and helping to prevent water related conflicts, as well as contributing to post-conflict resilience by assuring that water is taken into consideration in the peace processes.”
He also referenced the “Team Europe” project, a programme launched to support partner countries during the COVID-19 pandemic by combining resources from the EU, its Member States, and financial institutions, as a good opportunity to prioritise water management.
The event virtuall gathered government representatives from the European Union institutions (Commission, Parliament, Delegations), from EU Member States and EU partner countries, including policy-makers from ministries addressing agriculture, energy, environment and water; national and international experts from private and public water entities, development agencies, financing institutions and civil society.