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European Groups applaud Bern for becoming first Blue Community in Europe

18 September 2013
Three people holding Blue Planet Project cerificates
Social justice, environmental, and labour organizations in Europe are applauding the city of Bern for taking a bold new step to protect water as a commons. Launched by the Blue Planet Project based in Canada, the Blue Communities certification requires municipal governments to pass legislation recognising water as a human right and pledging to promote and protect public water and sanitation services.

Public Services International, the European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU), Aqua Publica Europea, Food & Water Europe and the Transnational Institute are hoping this will lead to many more Blue Communities throughout the continent. Having collected almost 2 million signatures within the European Union demanding the human right to water and sanitation through the European Citizens Initiative, civil society and labour groups hope local governments will adopt this municipal initiative throughout Switzerland and Europe.

The Blue Communities Project states that, “because water is central to human activity, it must be governed by principles that allow for reasonable use, equal distribution and responsible treatment in order to preserve it for nature and future generations.”

While a growing number of Canadian municipalities have become Blue Communities, Bern is the first city in Europe to receive a Blue Communities certificate. World-renowned author and water activist, Maude Barlow delivered the certificate to Bern City Council during a ceremony on September 18 at the Erlacherhof. Along with the city, the University of Bern and the Evangelisch-reformierte Kirchgemeinde Bern-Johannes Church have passed their own resolutions to become Blue Communities and received certificates.

To read Maude Barlow’s remarks, go to: http://canadians.org/sites/default/files/water/bluecommunities/Barlow-Blue Community-Bern.pdf

To learn more about the Blue Communities Project, please visit: http://www.canadians.org/bluecommunities

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