"Think globally and react locally"...

Ensuring that local players commit themselves resolutely to those issues that even the principal decision-makers on our planet often have difficulty agreeing on is one of the great challenges posed by the Sustainable Development policy. And yet this is the challenge that we intend to meet in Wallonia.

Wallonia, one of the Regions of Belgium in Europe is a minuscule dot on the map of the world, and yet it is one of the most densely populated and one of the most advanced in several economic and industrial sectors. Wallonia, a place where the welcome is warm and cultures cross also distinguishes itself by its creativity and its development on social issues, and also, more recently on environmental issues. Here in Wallonia the Sustainable Development policy is presented to everyone as the way towards a quality future.

The Contract for the Future of Wallonia, which is a common project combining government efforts and those of the public, ensures that priorities and ambitious deadlines as well as quantitative objectives are clearly set up for the benefit of the development of our region - and for the environment. And on the issue of the environment we are certainly not lagging behind. In fact as someone who is paying a lot of attention to the coherence with the other supporters of sustainable development, I am committed, as acting Minister, and with all the powers available to me, to moving ahead in areas as varied as water, air, waste, the ground and also the monitoring and surveillance of activities.

Flowing water does not recognise boundaries. The sources of pollution that affect it however, can be identified and effective measures against it can be taken by inviting everyone to bear their share of responsibility. In order to conserve our "blue gold", ambitious programmes governing nitrates, drainage and water treatment are currently being implemented in Wallonia. It is my intention to put in place, within the framework of well-developed European legislation on the subject, tools that are especially adapted for Wallonia. This will include providing information and building awareness among residents, standardising the price of water by guaranteeing a minimum supply to those less well off, setting up a variable levy according to quantities consumed, applying the principle of "he who pollutes, pays", implementing management by basins and sub-basins, ensuring the rapprochement and participation of players involved as well as partnerships outside our frontiers.

It is above all the rapprochement and the participation of the players involved in the water policy which will form the subject of this CD-Rom and this Internet site. Because it seems to me that there is a "Walloon model" that deserves to be better known outside our frontiers. A model based on an integrated policy, on synergy, at all stages throughout the water cycle, and on the public and private partners. A model which proves that the Walloon Region provides the organisation of the public service and a dynamism within the private sector, a mix that is less scholarly than it is constructive, and a model that is in the interest of all the citizens.
This participation by the players, our keen sense of concern, our style of participative government is certainly one of the most powerful motors behind our development. And finally our different planning tools and in particular the Contract for the Future of Wallonia, a show of commitment with all our strength behind it, aiming at transversality and a coherence in the ensemble of our future projects.

This CD-Rom is a fun and educational presentation which illustrates what is happening in the Walloon Region in terms of water. Our particular approach reflects our history, our character and our ambitions. I am convinced that it will also provide food for thought for our Walloon citizens and in general all the citizens of the earth, especially within the framework of the debates which will be held at the World Forum on Water in Kyoto in March 2003.

I hope that this medium will enrich your vision of the integrated water policy and of the policy for sustainable development. That it makes you think globally so that you can act locally in your home or in your work. But above all, I wish you an enjoyable visit.

The Minister for Territory Management, Urbanism and Environment for the Walloon Region

March 2003