World Water Day: Naturefriends actively involved in water protection
Vienna, 22 March 2013 / On the occasion of the World Water Day and of the International Year of Water Cooperation proclaimed by the United Nations, Naturefriends call for free access to water by everyone and for the protection of all water bodies.
Naturefriends are actively and variously engaged in the protection of water as a source of life and as an indispensable resource for sound ecosystems. The fact that international cooperation is a core element of these efforts has been evidenced by the on-going discussion on free access to water: The European environmental associations were not the only ones to criticise the imminent privatisation of water supply in the European Union; millions of anxious citizens got organised against the threat of water management being subjected to internal market rules, and launched a citizen initiative under the heading of “Water is a Human Right”. “Water is an ecological asset and must not be treated as merchandise”, states Manfred Pils, President of Naturefriends International, which lends support to this citizen initiative with its roughly 500’000 members in 45 countries; and he calls on the European Commission to submit a draft proposal “for enforcing the human right to water and sanitation in compliance with the Resolution of the United Nations and for promoting a functional water and waste-water management and the provision of water and sanitation as an essential public service for all”.
Acting in concert with the European Environmental Bureau – EEB, Naturefriends moreover demand that water protection measures be enshrined in the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and mobilise against the massive threat to ground water posed by the so-called “fracking” technology, which is employed in drilling for shale gas and oil shale. In this context Naturefriends call for a public consultation of the European Commission regarding a total ban on the drilling for shale gas and oil shale with the currently employed ecologically harmful methods and for mandatory environmental impact assessments with public participation whenever new methods are to be introduced.
Protecting aquatic ecosystems is also a declared aim of the international Water:Ways Campaign of Naturefriends International, which was launched in 2011 together with Austrian Federal Forests. The Campaign centres around a whole range of activities designed to draw attention to the importance of and dangers to water bodies and water-related habitats and to encourage nature-compatible leisure-time pursuits.
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