On 2 December at Cop 21, the Greater Paris Region Water Service (Sedif) organised a workshop on the “1% solidarity contribution: a pragmatic response to climate change”, bringing together the Greater Paris Region urban services in charge of providing water, electricity and gas, as well as treating waste and sanitation. Mamisoa Andriamihaja of GRET in Madagascar presented a project supported by Sedif in Madagascar. We met with Marc Vézina, of Sedif at this event.
The Sedif applies the Oudin-Santini law to improve access to water for local authorities in the South. It allocates part of its revenues to development projects in the form of grants to French associations. Why is it making this commitment?
Since 1986, elected representatives in the Greater Paris region, which has one of the most effective urban public services in the world, recognised the moral obligation to help local authorities in the South, some of whom have water shortages. The Oudin-Santini law makes it possible for French local authorities to mobilise resources from their water budget for development. This law is even more significant for authorities who entrust their water management to an inter-municipal body that specifically manages water and sanitation budgets. SEDIF allocates 1 cent per cubic metre to official development assistance (ODA), i.e. 0.7% of its resources or 2.4 million euros per year [NDRL: a portion corresponding to the national and international commitment of OECD countries in line with their gross national income – GNI]. As well as the funds mobilised, the law also makes it possible to mobilise expertise for the management of public water and sanitation services. This expertise has always been decentralised and never managed by a ministry. NGOs are allies, as they have valuable experience working with public authorities in the South.
Why did the six bodies in the Greater Paris Region decide to work together at Cop 21 under the name of “Greater Paris Region urban public services”?
The development issues for local authorities in the South are multidisciplinary and require a multi-sectoral solution. So it seemed logical for us as management bodies in the Paris region to combine our experience and our resources to respond to these issues, which are worsening with climate change. After Cop 21, SEDIF is making it a priority to examine water projects backed by projects funded by other bodies in the Paris region to encourage synergy between urban public services in the Greater Paris Region. From now on, assessment of applications for funding will focus increasingly on energy management and protection of water resources.
Why did you invite a member of GRET’s Malagasy team to speak at this workshop?
Madagascar is the country that has most benefitted from SEDIF’s assistance and the island of Sainte Marie has been benefitting from small projects in the rural sector for the last 15 years. The Malagasy government wanted to redirect our assistance to urban areas and GRET is one of the rare French NGOs that possesses appropriate know-how in terms of both urban services management and protection of resources. Soil erosion in the basins of dams that supply the city with drinking water is causing water resources to dry out. This is exacerbated by the fact that, as Madagascar is an island, the large and small water cycles are interconnected. It is vital to manage resources as well as the service. Mamisoa Andrihamiaja of GRET spoke of the difficulties generated by climate change in the area. It is necessary to reinforce the dam so it can resist cyclones. Crops traditionally grown in the basins must be changed. Used water and waste evacuation urgently need to be dealt with in order to provide access to drinking water.
Water management bodies in attendance: SEDIF, Greater Paris Region water management department, SIAAP, Interdepartmental Greater Paris Sanitation Service, SIGEIF, Inter-municipal Body for Gas and Electricity in the Greater Paris Region, SIPPEREC, Inter-municipal Body of the Paris Suburbs for Energy and Communication Networks, SYCTOM, Inter-municipal Body for domestic waste management in greater Paris, EPTB – Seine Grands Lacs