The Dubrovnik Declaration Text


Having in the City of Dubrovnik on the 24th and 25th of September, 2015 attended a practical workshop in which new municipalities from Eastern Europe, Turkey, and the Middle East have provided input with regard to a practicable planning cycle at all political levels with regards to the issue of water and waste and having been encouraged to assess the current situation, and to support municipal integration and inter-municipal cooperation, stakeholder engagement and international networking linked by a common approach to raising people’s participation in policies and choices on water and waste management whilst emphasising the dialogue between different levels of public administration and the different sectors engaged

 The signatories recognise that there exist challenges of urbanisation, water and climate change, resources, waste and the need for resource recovery and increasing costs of city infrastructures

The signatories therefore affirm that:

  1. Municipalities are centres of economic growth, employment, creativity, culture and innovation. Municipalities are producers, consumers, and sources of a host of global environmental problems.
  2. The initiatives to safeguard water resources often omit to underline the importance of municipalities as the challenges and solutions regarding sustainable water use, energy and resource recovery will predominantly reside in cities.
  3. There exists a need to create adequate opportunities in order to ensure that our municipalities become the catalyst for improved urban management of our water resources.
  4. Municipalities can provide local solutions to global issues when they develop a coherent long-term integrated strategy and implementation plan on transport, energy, ICT, solid waste, climate adaptation (heat islands, urban flooding and water scarcity), water supply, waste water treatment, air pollution and urban design.
  5. People in urban environments need green and blue space and healthy, attractive and liveable communities should become the long-term goal for municipal stakeholders.

And thus, the signatories state that

The involvement of local stakeholders coordinated by municipal and regional administrations has resulted in a positive local influence on international issues whilst enhancing science and evidence-based decision making in the field of water. This is the essence of the bottom-up approach. We, as a society, are faced with a series of challenges including the increase of the global urban population, competing demands for scarce water resources, resources reduction, and the production of waste.

 Hence the signatories supported by the consortium of the BlueSCities Project funded by the EU Horizon 2020 programme, the members of the association NETWERC H2O, the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission and the members of the EIP WATER Action Group, City Blueprints will:

  1. Seek to work together to implement and exchange experiences in order to provide answers to these challenges.
  2. Ensure improved exchange synergies between their respective municipalities and involve their respective local stakeholders, researchers and users, decision-makers and consumers, industry, SMEs and national and international authorities in said process.
  3. Establish the issues of water within the consciousness of citizens and city governors as a critical component fostering consensus in the participating municipalities in relation to water with the aim of increasing international understanding and awareness at local/regional and national levels of best-practices in Urban Water Cycle Services.
  4. Be informed of the process of the BlueSCities initiative.

And therefore the signatories declare their intent to:

  • Form part of a learning alliance and community of best-practices for water between the municipalities present to be known as the DUBROVNIK GROUP.
  • Seek to implement at least one aspect of the Citizen-Engagement procedures which have been presented in the present workshop in their respective municipalities.
  • Present the first appraisal of this trans-municipal approach at a seminar in the year 2016.

 Signed in (Name of the City), (Date: of, 2015)


Non-municipal organisations present at the workshop and involved in the creation of the Dubrovnik Declaration of Intent and subsequent actions:

Joint Research Centre of the European Commission

Jordan SMEs

Fundació CTM Centre Tecnològic

Network for Water in European Regions and Cities – NETWERC H2O

University Of California Irvine

Hungarian Water Association

European Water Association – EWA


De Montfort University

Lund University


Easton Consultancy

Strane Innovation

HORIZON 2020 Project: BlueSCities

European Innovation Partnership on Water


Three local citizen engagement activities were established at the aforementioned workshop.

Sciences Cafés

School Prizes

School experiments at local rivers

The signatories of the Dubrovnik Declaration of Intent will receive detailed information concerning the organisation, dissemination and possible subsequent actions related to the three types of activities above. The signatory cities are not obliged to undertake any of the aforementioned actions but are encouraged to undertake one or more of them with the active support and expertise of the organisations listed in Annex I.

Science Cafés

A Science Café is an event that brings scientists and the public together in an informal setting such as a restaurant, pub or coffee shop.

Science Cafés are happening all over the world and have many different formats. Some are lectures with audience-guided questions and answers, some have a moderated discussion between the scientist and the audience, and some focus more on round-table discussion. There is no right or wrong way to put on a Science Cafe, and each organizer is free to design theirs based on their goals and what their audience likes.

A main feature of a Science Café is that is held in a public place other than in the Host University or institution. Bringing a science discussion into an informal venue, such as a restaurant or a pub, is useful for making the audience feel comfortable to discuss the topic at hand and ask questions – it can be seen as much less threatening and there are fewer barriers between the public and the expert. Hosting the event in a restaurant is also a great way to reach new audiences not already involved in science. People who might not come to a lecture at a university are often more likely to attend one in a bar or cafe, and there is the added benefit of potentially drawing in people who are already at the venue socially.

Any water topic can be chosen, depending on the Science Café organiser’s preference or speaker’s expertise. Science Café organisers should also consider topics relevant to the local communities.

Prizes for Schools

School competitions will act as an additional medium – together with Science Cafés – to initiate citizen awareness within a municipality. The intention is that school pupils, aged between 7 to 12 years-old are presented in class with the issue of water and then encouraged to participate in a competition in which they draw what water suggests to them.

The intention is that the winners from each participating city will have their illustrations published in the City Blueprint Atlas, an important product of the BlueSCities project, published by the European Commission.

The competition structure is a crucial part of organizing this kind of events. Participants will need to know when the competition begins and ends; which division of the school can participate; how resource use will be reported and, most importantly, how the winner is determined. It is important that everyone is on the same page and that all expectations and guidelines are established upfront.

The most important information to most student participants will be how to win. It is important to establish these rules upfront so no one is disappointed or feels cheated. While this is a competition, it is supposed to be fun and everyone should have a fair and equal chance at winning.

School experiments at local rivers

The idea is that on a chosen day that is internationally symbolic for water, school children are taken to local rivers. Ten to twelve groups of students, as well as their parents, and academic staff from different countries, will be active in measuring the quality on the water and other ecological parameters around the river and send it through the internet to their colleagues, and with the academic staff participating in the exercise they will analyse the data and discuss innovative ways of restoring the water quality. Lectures to the students and their families will be workshops delivered by the academic staff, the municipalities’ authorities, and will be chosen on the basis of professional and intellectual merit, and willingness to fully volunteer. This activity will include a final task that the group/class should submit, and the teachers, the families and the academic staff will be present during the final event.

A more detailed description of all three suggested activities described above will be supplied to those cities who sign the Dubrovnik Declaration of Intent.