Favouring access to water and sanitation in the Mediterranean

In 2009, Claude Martinand led a study on the issue of water and sanitation in the Mediterranean. The study, called Water and Sanitation Services in Cities and Countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea, is a synthesis of the work group gathered in 2006 by IPEMED. It encourages an integrated vision of the policies to be implemented in order to ensure sanitation in Mediterranean cities, especially on the coast:

“Tackling the water and sanitation issue without taking into account land planning, economic development, society progress, especially the fight against poverty or people’s health, solidarity and equity issues, good governance or corruption control, constitutes an obstacle to address the subjects of environmental protection and pollution control. “

This is the assessment that led IPEMED’s reflections on water governance in the Mediterranean. It was followed, in 2013, by a case study on the water sector in Algeria.

At the end of 2013, a study was also published on the quality of bathing water and on sanitation improvement in the Mediterranean basin, with the support of the French Office of the Fuondation for Environmental Education, an organisation in charge of Blue Flag management in France. It presented, as a conclusion, the following recommendation: “a part of tourist taxes received by local communities could be paid into an investment fund to help carrying out actions to preserve the marine environment. This would represent a direct contribution from beach and tourism operators to finance actions regarding beach and coastline management.”

This recommendation, that raised the question of financing investments via interregional solidarity mechanisms, was further examined in the report published by IPEMED and called Financing Access to Water and Sanitation in the Mediterranean: Is innovative funding a solution or an illusion? (2014). Therefore IPEMED is in favour of implementing innovative funding and especially “solidarity micro taxes” that would be paid by business sectors benefiting from globalisation and which have a negative impact on water quality or quantity in the Mediterranean: maritime navigation, tourism infrastructures with high water intensity levels, etc.

In 2015, IPEMED’s work programme consists in studying the feasibility of these mechanisms.
- Developing an integrated vision of water resources and demand in the Mediterranean that must take into account:

(i) the overall management of the water and sanitation service, from production and supply of drinking water to collection and treatment of sewage waters;

(ii) the natural cycle of the resource in order to ensure a balance between its multiple uses (irrigation, industrial use, touristic use, household consumption) and its interactions (energy, food safety, tourism, health, etc.);

(iii) the necessary actions for environmental education and awareness;

(iv) the essential role of the pricing policy to ensure a sustainable service as well as equity and solidarity, linked to governance improvement and public service control, the development of skills and the capacity to create and manage, the continuous improvement of service performance (quality and economic efficiency).

- Promoting tools in favour of regional cooperation:

(i) the Blue Flag, in charge of unifying and standardizing regulations regarding surveillance, control and management of bathing water quality for both shores of the Mediterranean;

(ii) innovative funding mechanisms in favour of recasting the water financial structure on the account of solidarity.
End of 2015: Writing of a policy brief following the 2014 report Financing access to water and sanitation in the Mediterranean. Is innovative funding a solution or an illusion?