In the format of ministers for development cooperation, the EU Foreign Affairs Council confirmed the conclusions on water in the EU’s external action on Friday, 19 November 2021. "This is an important milestone in attaining the objectives of the Union’s water diplomacy and in marking progress within the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development," underlined State Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Stanislav Raščan. The adoption of the conclusions on water, which Slovenia sought intensively within its priorities, is an important achievement of the Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the EU.
The Council Conclusions on Water encompass a wide range of the most pressing issues and solutions related to water within the scope of development cooperation and the Union’s external action. The main focus is placed on the strategic importance of water - in particular on sustainable development, poverty reduction, food and nutrition security, human development, climate action, environmental protection, biodiversity and ecosystem preservation, humanitarian action, and peace and stability - and on water as a human right. The Union will strengthen its reputation as the largest development assistance donor and confirm its impact as the key global actor in this field.
The approved conclusions on water facilitate a more comprehensive approach to water. Both before and during its Council Presidency, Slovenia has been working towards systematically including water in the Union's preventive measures and measures to establish and preserve peace. Water must also be part of strategic partnerships and political dialogues. Slovenia has organised several events and conferences to raise awareness of the importance of water, among others the “Water and Beyond” international conference, a technical seminar on water, the opening event of the Slovenian Presidency on water and health, and the recent Conference on Water and Gender Equality. Slovenia is one of the few countries to have the right to drinking water enshrined in the Constitution.
Slovenia and the EU face much work to implement a more comprehensive approach to water at the international level. One excellent opportunity to do so will present itself at the UN 2023 Water Conference, which will be the first such conference on water since 1977. The cooperation of member states during the preparation of the Council conclusions on water and external action is expected to strongly influence the adoption of common goals and views of the 2023 Water Conference.