APE Seminar | Water and Earth: a Shared Future

A wide audience of European public water operators, local authorities’ representatives, and other water stakeholders attended the seminar “Water and Earth: a Shared Future”, which was held on the 10th July in Milan, at EXPO 2015.

The seminar, organised by APE in collaboration with the utilities CAP Holding and Metropolitana Milanese, aimed to discuss the limits of our development model, while exploring solutions that can reconcile our growth needs with the sustainable use of water resources.

The debate was fed by a fruitful exchange between scientific experts and institutional representatives, including a keynote speech by the Italian Minister for Agriculture, Maurizio Martina.


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In their welcome addresses, Alessandro Russo, CAP Holding’s President , and Davide Corritore, Metropolitana Milanese’s President , highlighted the complex interweaving of local and transnational factors that characterise the management of water resources and expressed the wish that EXPO 2015 may also represent a context for developing innovative ideas and forge political alliances to tackle common challenges.

They also emphasised the small but significant role played in EXPO by Milan’s public water operators that, by providing around 200.000 litres a day of free tab water through 26 water kiosks in the EXPO site, contribute to reduce the environmental impact of this important international event.

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Prof Cosimo Lacirignola, Secretary General of the Centre International de Hautes Etudes Agronomiques Méditerranéennes , set the scene by illustrating the intense anthropic pressure affecting our water and land resources. He then stressed the need for immediate remedial actions based on institutional and technical innovation; but he also drew the attention to the “geopolitics of nutrition” and the responsibility of the political world to tackle persisting inequalities.

Download Lacirignola’s presentation (in French).

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Italian Minister for Agriculture , Maurizio Martina, acknowledged the need for a greater attention to water-related issue in the international political agenda. He then stressed the importance of better integrating the different international political fora that are addressing climate change and poverty eradication issues, starting from EXPO 2015 and the “Milan Charter” and looking towards the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals and COP21.

Scholars Marta Antonelli and Laura Greco of the London Water Research Group presented their co-authored book “The Water We Eat” where they analyse the relationship between water and food security, and outlined different methodologies to assess both the environmental and social impact that western consumption models generate.

The crucial link between agriculture practices and water was also underlined by MEP Paolo De Castro in a video-message.

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In her closing remarks, APE’s President and Paris Deputy-Mayor , Celia Blauel, underlined the importance of urban areas in the global fight to climate change. According to Ms Blauel, urban areas are one of the major sources of alteration of ecosystems, but they are also the context to develop and implement effective solutions for climate change mitigation. Ms Blauel also stated that public utilities and public water operators in particular are better placed to adopt approached for the benefit of all in a long term perspective, since they are not constrained by immediate profit-making needs.

Download the programme of the seminar


Watch video interview with APE’s President, Celia Blauel


Watch video interview with Prof Lacirignola


Watch video interview with Dr Marta Antonelli


Watch video interview with Dr Laura Greco


Watch video interview with APE’s CEO, Christiane Franck