The European Committee of the Regions (CoR) called on 27 April for the national governments of the 43 members of the Union of the Mediterranean to give local authorities in the Mediterranean region "a clear role in all bodies responsible for planning and managing river basin districts".
The CoR, the EU's assembly for local and regional authorities, also pressed water ministers from the Union of the Mediterranean to create a "consultative body to improve the governance of water resources" in the Mediterranean.
Speaking at a meeting in Malta of ministers and representatives from the Union of the Mediterranean's 28 EU and 15 non-EU members, CoR President Markku Markkula (FI/EPP) said: "Infrastructure and regulatory measures may often fall within the remit of national governments, but fundamentally local and regional authorities are responsible for managing water and climate change adaptation, access to safe drinking water and sanitation, water demand management at local level, education etc. The only solution is local. Building resilience and managing the impact of climate change – which has direct consequences for the future of our water supply – is at the top of the agenda for cities and regions across the world."
The Committee of the Regions has had a working relationship with local and regional authorities from non-EU countries in the Mediterranean region since 2010, when it established the Euro-Mediterranean Regional and Local Assembly (ARLEM) . One of its earliest results of the cooperation was a set of recommendations, produced in 2011, on local water management in the Mediterranean.
"The impact of climate change and its effects on water poverty does not end at national borders," President Markkula said. "Only through using the best knowledge and cooperating, learning and listening across borders can we find sustainable long-term solutions to ensure the flow of water to our homes, businesses, industries services and communities."
President Markkula also used the ministerial meeting in Malta to welcome the EU's approval, on 26 April , of an initiative aimed at developing water provision and agro-food projects in the Mediterranean region. To date, 11 EU and eight non-EU countries have agreed to pool funds and expertise for the Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area (PRIMA) . PRIMA, which will be launched in 2018, was presented to ARLEM members in 2016 in Murcia, where innovative solutions for food systems and water resources were showcased
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