From September 22 – 24 2023, the first Confluence of European Water Bodies will take place. During the conference, water bodies from all over Europe will meet for an intercultural exchange on the representation of water in Europe’s cultural, political and legal realm.
The Confluence of European Waters will take place at the Mar Menor, the first European ecosystem to gain legal personhood. Here—on the banks of one of the largest lagoons facing the Mediterranean—waters from all over the continent will gather, flow together and share their situated knowledges and experiences. A sincere form of ecological politics must emerge from the specificities of the ecosystem it relates to, which is impossible when exclusively managed by anthropocentric institutions. We therefore invite everyone, parliamentarians and citizens alike, to follow the example of the Confluence of European Waters: to dialogue with and learn from the ecosystems that are and make Europe, questioning their own anthropic boundaries and translating this knowledge into action and law.
Participating waters are: Akerselva (NO), Drina (SRB), Klarälven (SE), Loire (FR), Mar Menor (ES), Mediterranean Sea, Mlava (SRB), Moraca and Tara rivers (ME), North Sea (NL), Rhône (CH), Senne (BE), Spree (DE), Tejo (PRT), Venice Lagoon (IT) and Vistula (PL)
The conference is initiated by the Embassy of the North Sea and developed in collaboration with the ILP Mar Menor and TBA21–Academy / Ocean Space.
Read more about the programme and the participants here.
Public ceremony and proclamation in Brussels
The Confluence of European Waters will start with a pilgrimage from Brussels on Monday September 18 2023. Collectively, the waters will gather symbolically in front of the European Parliament to proclaim a letter to the people of Europe, introduced by Member of Parliament Marie Toussaint. Quoting from this letter / the Seed of Siena Declaration:
..“Current laws and policies cannot stop the loss of biodiversity or the poisoning of soils, lands, waters and air, because they are grounded in the fiction of the natural world as property or ‘resources’ for human desires. The privatization, commodification and legalized enslavement of Nature as human and corporate property, the phantom economy based on speculation rather than actual production and the financialization of Nature, further expedite the destruction of ecosystems and lives.”..
Prior to the proclamation, Erena Rhöse, a Māori woman native of Aotearoa (New Zealand) and living in Sweden, will perform a ritual. Erena is guardian of the tribal knowledge, a doctor of traditional Maori medicine, professor of Ecosophy at the University of Karlstad, Sweden, ambassador of Earth Rights and expert for the “Harmony with Nature” UN network. Erena has been involved in raising awareness on the value and the sacredness of water and on the reconnection with Mother Earth. She speaks about being a daughter of the Whanganui River. In 2017, human rights were granted to the Whanganui River as a living entity and a tupuna (ancestor) of Māori people.
Special thanks to the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature (GARN) for joining and supporting the Confluence of European Waters. Founded in 2010, GARN is a network across 100 countries committed to the adoption and implementation of legal systems that enable the recognition, respect and enforcement of the Rights of Nature.