HC Deb 29 July 1997 vol 299 cc174-5W
Mr. Dafis

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps she will take to facilitate progress in international co-operation on a policy for fresh water management. [9349]

Clare Short

We fully recognise the importance of sustainable fresh water management, the rapidly increasing pressure on the resource and that water is a basic requirement for life.

My Department, with the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions is actively involved in an EU initiative to promote a more strategic approach to fresh water management, which will be considered during the next session of the UN commission on sustainable development in 1998. We will use the UK's EU presidency to promote this initiative. The UK also plays a leading role in the global water partnership, which promotes co-operation and improved water management as well as in other international forums.

We recognise that the critical actions must be at the basin level, be that local, national or regional, and that international co-operation needs to focus on promoting and supporting sound management principles and raising awareness.