"Ensuring the Safety of the World's Water & Food Supplies"
SUMMARY OF THE 4TH WORLD WATER FORUM:
16-22 MARCH 2006
The 4th World Water Forum convened in Mexico City, Mexico from Thursday,
16 March to Wednesday, 22 March 2006. The Forum is the largest
international event on freshwater, and seeks to enable multi-stakeholder
participation and dialogue to influence water policy-making at a global
level, in pursuit of sustainable development.
The 4th Forum's main theme, "Local actions for a global challenge," was
addressed through five framework themes: water for growth and
development; implementing integrated water resources management (IWRM);
water supply and sanitation for all; water management for food and the
environment; and risk management. Over 200 thematic sessions were held,
and almost 20,000 participants attended, representing governments, UN
agencies, intergovernmental organizations, non-governmental
organizations (NGOs), academia, business and industry, indigenous
groups, youth and the media.
The Forum concluded with a Ministerial Conference on 21-22 March, with
some 140 ministers and high-level officials gathering in both closed and
open sessions, which included dialogues and roundtables on various
aspects of water management. A Ministerial Declaration was adopted,
calling for international action on water and sanitation issues.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF GLOBAL WATER ISSUES
Freshwater is a finite resource and is imperative for sustainable
development, economic growth, political and social stability, health,
and poverty eradication. While water issues have long been on the
international agenda, the debate on how to meet the growing global
demand for freshwater has intensified in recent years. More than one
billion people currently have no access to safe drinking water, and an
estimated 2.7 billion people, or one third of the world's population,
will face major water shortages by 2025.
Convened every three years, the World Water Forum is an initiative of
the World Water Council (WWC), an international water policy think-tank
established in 1996 in response to global concern over the pressures on
the Earth's freshwater resources. The Forum's objectives are to: raise
the importance of water on the political agenda; support the deepening
of discussions towards solving international water issues in the 21st
Century; formulate concrete proposals; and generate political
1ST WORLD WATER FORUM: The 1st World Water Forum, held in Marrakesh,
Morocco, in March 1997, mandated the WWC to develop a long-term Vision
on Water, Life and the Environment for the 21st Century. The 1st Forum
also cautioned against treating water as a marketable good, and
prioritized: water and sanitation; shared water management; ecosystem
conservation; gender equality; and efficient use of water.
2ND WORLD WATER FORUM: The 2nd World Water Forum took place in The
Hague, the Netherlands, in March 2000. The Ministerial Declaration
identified key challenges for the future as meeting basic water needs,
securing food supply, protecting ecosystems, sharing water resources,
managing risks, and valuing and governing water wisely. In this
Declaration, Ministers also agreed to review progress in meeting these
challenges on a regular basis, and to provide support to the UN system
to periodically reassess the state of freshwater resources.
UN MILLENNIUM SUMMIT: At the UN Millennium Summit in September 2000,
world leaders adopted the Millennium Declaration, which inspired eight
Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and 18 targets, including the target
to halve the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water
INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON FRESHWATER: The International Conference on
Freshwater convened in Bonn, Germany in December 2001, in preparation
for the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), and addressed:
equitable access and sustainable supply of water for the poor;
strategies for sustainable and equitable management of water resources;
integration of gender perspectives; and mobilization of financial
resources for water infrastructure.
WSSD: World leaders convening in Johannesburg, South Africa at the WSSD
in 2002 took the MDG target on safe drinking water a step further by
agreeing to halve the number of people lacking adequate sanitation by
2015. Other water-related targets in the Johannesburg Plan of
Implementation include the commitment to develop integrated water
resources management (IWRM) and water efficiency plans by 2005.
Governments, lending agencies and international organizations also
launched several voluntary partnerships and initiatives in the area of
water and sanitation.
3RD WORLD WATER FORUM: Held in Kyoto, Osaka and Shiga, Japan in March
2003, the 3rd World Water Forum brought together 24,000 participants
from over 170 countries, making it the largest water-related meeting
ever held. Some 130 Ministers adopted a Declaration underscoring the
role of water as a driving force for sustainable development, and
launched the Portfolio of Water Actions - an inventory of more than
3,000 local actions. The "Financing Water for All" report of a
high-level Panel chaired by Michel Camdessus, former Director General of
the International Monetary Fund, was also presented.
GURRÍA TASK FORCE: The Task Force on Financing Water for All, led by
José Angel Gurría Treviño, former Finance Minister of Mexico and
incoming Secretary-General of the Organization for Economic Cooperation
and Development (OECD), was established at the 3rd Forum as a follow-up
to the report of the Camdessus Panel, and met twice during the
intersessional period. The Gurría Task Force, composed of
representatives from NGOs, local authorities and financing institutions,
was mandated to present a case-based report at the 4th Forum on progress
made and challenges ahead, focusing on financing water for agriculture
and new models for financing municipalities and local action.
G8 SUMMIT: At their annual Summit, held in Evian, France from 1-3 June
2003, leaders of the Group of Eight (G8) countries adopted the Action
Plan on Water to help meet the MDG and WSSD goals of halving the number
of people without access to clean water and sanitation by 2015. In this
Action Plan, G8 leaders committed themselves to: promoting good
governance; utilizing all financial resources; building infrastructure
by empowering local authorities and communities; strengthening
monitoring, assessment and research; and reinforcing engagement of
UN COMMISSION ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: At its twelfth and thirteenth
sessions held in New York from 14-30 April 2004 and 11-22 April 2005,
respectively, the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) focused
on policies and options to expedite the implementation of international
commitments in the areas of water, sanitation and human settlements. The
CSD-13 outcome document's section on water calls, inter alia, for:
accelerating progress towards the 2015 water access target through
increased resources, and by using a full range of policy instruments
such as regulation, market-based tools, cost recovery, targeted
subsidies for the poor and economic incentives for small scale
producers; improving water demand and resource management, especially in
agriculture; and accelerating the provision of technical and financial
assistance to countries that need help to meet the 2005 target on IWRM.
2005-2015 UN INTERNATIONAL DECADE FOR ACTION "WATER FOR LIFE": Organized
by the UN, the International Decade focuses on the implementation of
water-related programmes and projects and strengthening cooperation on
water issues at all levels. Africa is the region for priority action.
Other priorities include: sanitation access; disaster prevention;
pollution; transboundary water issues; water, sanitation and gender;
capacity building; financing; and IWRM.
4TH WORLD WATER FORUM REPORT
OPENING OF THE FORUM
Welcoming participants to the Forum, Cristóbal Jaime Jáquez, Co-Chair of
the 4th World Water Forum, emphasized: the strategic importance of water
to national security; the need for a long-term vision on water
management; and the need to create a new water culture that enables
people to face water and development challenges based on cooperation and
Loïc Fauchon, President of the World Water Council (WWC) and Co-Chair of
the 4th Forum, stressed that lack of access to safe drinking water and
poor water quality are unacceptable, and that the right to water is
indispensable to human dignity. He outlined major challenges for global
water systems, including demographic growth, deforestation, soil
degradation and climate change. Urging the international community to
step up its efforts in addressing the global water crisis, he called
for: greater investments in water infrastructure; technological progress
to ensure water security; research and education; water management
decentralization; and risk management.
José Luis Luege Tamargo, Mexico's Secretary of Environment and Natural
Resources, noted the need for universal access to safe drinking water,
stressing that water is a fundamental human right and a key to
development. He said that: although sovereignty must be respected, water
access must not be constrained by borders; local experiences, knowledge
and technology must be exchanged; and forestry issues must be addressed.
Prince of Orange Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands stressed that
global water challenges must be met with actions at the local level. He
highlighted the water-related findings of the Millennium Ecosystem
Assessment, which describes current rates of environmental degradation
and its impacts on development, urged implementation of integrated water
resources management (IWRM) plans, and stressed the need for
consideration of water issues in energy, agriculture and other policies.
He also underscored the need for leadership at all levels.
Crown Prince Naruhito of Japan recalled the outcomes of the 3rd Forum,
and noted several follow-up initiatives at the global level, such as the
UN Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation and the UN's 2005-2015 UN
International Decade for Action "Water for Life". He noted modest
progress towards improving water supply and sanitation, and urged action
to cope with the increasing number of weather-related disasters.
Driss Jettou, Prime Minister of Morocco, drew attention to the King
Hassan II Great World Water Prize, created jointly by Morocco and
contributing countries to recognize outstanding achievements in the
management and development of water resources. He underscored the
importance of institutions in creating awareness and contributing to
water management. Stressing the need for collective action and sharing
experiences, he also welcomed South-South cooperation and emerging
solidarity in addressing global water challenges.
Vicente Fox Quesada, President of Mexico, emphasized that water is both
a human right and a public good that all governments must guarantee. He
said the 4th Forum needs to advance the achievement of international
water-related commitments. He noted that water conservation is
imperative for combating poverty and promoting growth and development,
both nationally and internationally, and advocated a new water culture
based on shared responsibility, equity and solidarity. Noting that there
is no single approach to solving the global water crisis, he said many
solutions lie at the local level. In closing, he highlighted the Forum's
role in fostering public awareness and respect for water, and inspiring
leadership on water issues worldwide. A folkloric music and dance
KING HASSAN II GREAT WORLD WATER PRIZE CEREMONY: Mohamed El Yazghi,
Morocco's Minister of Environment, introduced the King Hassan II Great
World Water Prize, announcing that the international jury had selected
Torkil Jønch-Clausen (Denmark) for his scientific excellence and support
for international cooperation and solidarity in the field of water.
Forum Co-Chair Fauchon highlighted Morocco's role in initiating the
Great World Water Prize and the country's success in achieving
self-sufficiency in water management as a result of its political will
and technical expertise.
Prime Minister Jettou then presented the Great World Water Prize to
Jønch-Clausen. In his acceptance remarks, Jønch-Clausen stressed that
his award is a result of cooperation among the Danish Government, the
Danish Hydraulic Institute and the Global Water Partnership (GWP), and
announced that the prize money would be used to make a contribution to a
fund for women from developing countries to study water issues.
SPECIAL PRESENTATION "FROM THE 3RD TO THE 4TH FORUM": Ryutaro Hashimoto,
Chair of the UN Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation, said that most
of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) cannot be achieved without
solving water problems. He summarized global water-related developments
since the 3rd Forum, including: the launch of the UN 2005-2015
International Decade for Action "Water for Life"; the establishment of
the UN Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation; discussions at the
twelfth and thirteenth sessions of the UN Commission on Sustainable
Development (CSD) focusing on water and sanitation; and the African
Ministerial Conference on Water. Hashimoto highlighted shortcomings in
meeting the 3rd Forum's commitments, and called for concrete actions to
resolve global water problems.
Forum Co-Chair Fauchon summarized progress achieved between the 3rd
Forum and 4th Forum, suggesting that much work is needed, including
procedures for decentralization of water management. He then highlighted
several achievements since the 3rd Forum, including a 40 percent growth
in the WWC's membership, and in the areas of water financing, monitoring
and water rights.
Forum Co-Chair Jaime Jáquez outlined the institutional history of global
water policy since the 1972 UN Conference on the Human Environment and
progress achieved. He said regional reports would form the basis of the
Forum's discussions and provide input into the Ministerial Conference
ROUNDTABLE "INTRODUCTION TO THE 4TH WORLD WATER FORUM": Opening the
roundtable, Eduardo Sojo Garza-Aldape, Mexican President's Public Policy
Office, encouraged all stakeholders to be open to different viewpoints
and to share and learn from local experiences.
Ryutaro Hashimoto then presented the UN Advisory Board's recently
released Compendium of Actions "Your Action, Our Action," noting that it
draws from existing consensus documents and focuses on six vital areas:
financing; water operators partnerships; sanitation; monitoring; IWRM;
and water-related disasters.
On financing, he said governments should install an appropriate mix of
equitable tariffs and subsidies. Noting that available financial
resources often fail to effectively address water and sanitation issues,
he called for: better governance and transparency; programmes to expand
knowledge on developing local markets; and water funding focused on
capacity building. Hashimoto said water operators partnerships are
crucial to achieving hygiene promotion, household sanitary arrangements
and sewage treatment, and called for concrete tools for action, advocacy
at the global level, and concerted campaigns at the sub-regional level.
On sanitation, he highlighted the Compendium's recommendations to the
UN, including to: designate 2008 as the International Year of
Sanitation; install a UN Sanitation Prize; promote regional high-level
meetings; and organize a global sanitation conference towards the end of
the UN International Decade on Water.
On monitoring, he called upon the UN to disseminate reliable data on
progress towards water-related targets and urged all UN Members to
submit progress reports to CSD-16 in 2008 to be incorporated in a UN
Recalling recent water-related disasters, Hashimoto stressed the
importance of preparedness and called for efforts to foster global
awareness, commitment and consensus. Highlighting cross-cutting
perspectives, he said stakeholder participation remains insufficient in
the field, and called for links and synergies with other key sectors,
including education, health care and agriculture.
Margaret Catley-Carlson, GWP Chair, chaired the ensuing roundtable
discussion on the Compendium's six vital areas.
Gérard Payen, President of Aquafed, International Federation of Private
Water Operators, said that capacity building is critical, and stressed
the need for partnerships between experienced water operators and public
utilities in helping public operators deliver water services.
On financing, José Angel Gurría Treviño, former Finance Minister of
Mexico and incoming Secretary-General of the Organization for Economic
Cooperation and Development (OECD), noted that although practices and
commitments have been adopted, flows of financing have not occurred.
Noting that only five percent of Official Development Assistance (ODA)
is assigned to water while a twofold increase in financing levels is
needed, he called for "a rallying cry to capture the imagination of
On ethics, Pedro Arrojo Agudo, President of the New Culture of Water
Foundation, stressed that access to drinking water is not so much a
financial problem, but rather a political and democratic one. Drawing
attention to the various values assigned to water, he said that part of
the problem has been prioritizing profit over access to water as a human
Sojo Garza-Aldape addressed the hidden costs of water service delivery
and speculated on the implications of identifying these costs as a
subsidy that mainly benefits high-income groups, underscoring the need
for transparency in decision-making.
Julia Carabias Lillo, Programme on Water, Environment and Society,
National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM)/El Colegio de México,
said that experience in decentralization is scarce. She stressed the
need for real participation to foster legitimate organizations.
Payen said that lack of consensus on a right to water stems from
uncertainty surrounding its implications and stressed the need for
dialogue. He stated that local governments are in the best position to
implement water rights.
On actions that can be taken at the UN level, Manuel Dengo, Chief of
Water, Natural Resources and Small Island Developing States (SIDS)
Branch, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), said the
problem is the absence of a mechanism that can accelerate the
translation of global policies into actions that reflect local needs. He
said local demands must meet top-level policies at a common point of
agreement. Arrojo Agudo said grassroots solutions are often the most
cost-effective and successful.
In closing, panelists reemphasized the need for capacity building, good
governance, and action at the local level. Payen insisted that local
governments cannot provide water and sanitation unless national
governments provide the necessary frameworks. Sojo Garza-Aldape called
for well-defined strategies, while Carabias Lillo encouraged the
inclusion of binding commitments in the Ministerial Declaration.
The Forum's framework themes were addressed from Friday to Tuesday. Due
to a large number of overlapping sessions, IISD coverage was limited to
a selection from some 200 sessions organized under the following five
themes: water for growth and development; implementing IWRM; water
supply and sanitation for all; water for food and the environment; and
WATER FOR GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT: Participants addressed the theme of
"Water for growth and development" on Friday. Detailed World Water Forum
Bulletin coverage of these discussions can be found online at:
Keynote address: Crown Prince Naruhito of Japan gave a keynote address
on the history of water transport in Edo (now Tokyo), outlining the
development of engineering solutions and their use in modern water
infrastructure. He highlighted several water management and
infrastructure projects, including an eastward diversion of the Tone
River from Tokyo Bay into the Pacific Ocean, land reclamation through
drainage, as well as the special relationship between people and water
that has contributed to the creation of present-day Tokyo. He encouraged
participants to draw inspiration from pioneering water management
solutions throughout history as well as from local knowledge.
Introduction to the framework theme: Luis Alberto Moreno, President,
Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), introduced the theme, stating
that to achieve the MDGs, investments, especially in sanitation, are an
urgent priority. He said changes in economic and political systems pose
administrative and financial challenges, and advocated: universal access
to water, combined with the promotion of efficient use; mechanisms to
solve water-related conflicts; efficient financial structures to ensure
reasonable prices for local communities; and subsidies to ensure
maintenance of water infrastructure to limit water waste. He also
recommended: well-regulated private sector involvement at the micro- and
macro-levels; incentives to promote efficient financial administration;
and attracting new financial resources while strengthening existing
European initiatives on water and poverty: Several European initiatives
were outlined, including the European Union's Africa, Caribbean and
Pacific (ACP-EU) Water Facility, which seeks to improve governance,
water services and sanitation in order to provide 10 million people with
sustainable access to drinking water by 2010. The ACP-EU Water Facility
projects in Benin and Haiti and their expected capacity-building impacts
were described and the funding gap between national- and community-level
water projects were also addressed.
Dynamics of water and growth: issues and political reflections:
Participants discussed the concept of a "minimum platform," or
threshold, that countries must acquire to achieve water security and
emphasized that the poorest people must not be excluded from the full
range of infrastructural and institutional options for achieving water
security. They urged: the use of environmentally sustainable, socially
desirable and politically viable policy-making on water; strengthening
of democratic institutions; respect for human rights; participation of
local authorities; and consideration of not only local, but also global
impacts of water infrastructure development. One participant called for
greater awareness throughout the international community of the water
crisis in Africa and another suggested that the water debate needs to be
framed in terms of rights and risks, emphasizing that all water
management entails costs and benefits and that good governance,
multi-stakeholder scrutiny and options assessment are required in
Indigenous towns and water: Participants discussed the need to: promote
regional sustainable development for the benefit of marginalized
communities; blend traditional skills with modern techniques; and
promote the use of project assessment. They also encouraged actors to
improve the coverage and quality of drinking water and sanitation
services and to use a rights-based, as well as an integrated, approach
to water management. One participant described the struggle of
indigenous peoples in Bolivia against water privatization. Participants
urged the use of efficient mechanisms to halt the depletion of major
sources of water and stressed the need for local communities to play a
primary role in water planning.
Ensuring dams are a platform for growth and sustainable development:
Participants discussed benefits and controversies surrounding dams, the
need for balanced actions, alternatives to dams, and licensing issues.
They underscored that developing countries can least afford to make the
mistakes of developed countries with respect to large infrastructure
development and stressed the importance of a comprehensive, basin-wide,
multi-stakeholder approach to dam planning. They also discussed: dams as
a tool for providing water for growth and development and for achieving
the MDGs; the use of dams for irrigation; and challenges in establishing
efficient and transparent bottom-up approaches and involving all
Findings of the Gurría Task Force: GWP Chair Catley-Carlson introduced,
and participants reviewed, the contents of the Report on Financing Water
for All, prepared by the Task Force led by Angel Gurría, OECD. They
noted its findings on: access to finance for local governments; the need
for financing for water-related agricultural activities; and local
implementation actions. They emphasized that: financing issues should be
framed by demand rather than supply considerations; water financing
issues should be prioritized on political agendas; the role of local
authorities should be strengthened; and unsustainable water practices in
the agricultural sector should be phased out. Local government
perspectives, issues regarding financing local authorities, and
international donor experiences in water sector financing were also
discussed. Participants also shared experiences on: synergies among the
water, energy and sanitation sectors; "debt for water swaps";
small-scale, locally-funded sustainable projects; and partnerships with
the public, private, and financial sectors. Task Force Chair Gurría
announced that the work of the Task Force would continue after the 4th
Water and energy: Panelists underscored the need to develop energy
systems that draw on a combination of renewable energy sources and
highlighted the important role of hydroelectricity as a reliable source
of power. They highlighted: different methods to reduce water
consumption in electricity generation; the importance of synergies
between hydro- and thermal power generation; alternative electricity
generation technologies; and the importance of planning and
participation in energy generation and delivery. The value of using
appropriate technologies was also discussed.
Business, water and sustainable development: Panelists discussed various
initiatives on sustainable water supply and services, including a
private sector water purification pilot project, wastewater treatment
and reuse activities, and efforts to support funding systems to improve
the coverage of water services. They stressed that investing in water,
sanitation and water resources management is good business and that each
country needs to develop a "minimum platform" for water infrastructure
and water security. Participants also noted that the needs of youth need
to be taken into account and that a long-term vision for addressing
water issues is needed.
IMPLEMENTING IWRM: On Saturday, participants addressed the theme of
"implementing IWRM," convening in plenary to hear a keynote address and
an introduction to the theme. They also attended some 40 IWRM thematic
sessions held throughout the day. Detailed World Water Forum Bulletin
coverage of these discussions can be found online at:
Keynote address: Prince of Orange Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands
highlighted growing awareness that the water crisis is a management
crisis. He urged countries to continue to take action to develop IWRM
and water efficiency plans, and said the need is not for new policies
but for concrete action. Noting that his country has over 800 years of
experience in water management, he stressed the need to share
experiences and knowledge.
The Prince of Orange further highlighted the success of the European
Water Framework Directive, a legislative instrument coordinating
freshwater resources management in all EU member States. He said that
achieving IWRM requires patience, and should build on multi-stakeholder
involvement and integrated planning, while focusing on improving
people's quality of life. He advocated focusing on positive factors,
including the many achievements of the GWP, encouraged the collation of
best practices, and challenged participants to learn from the Forum's
outcomes and to use them to inspire actions on the ground.
Introduction to the framework theme: Katherine Sierra, World Bank,
stressed that development that either undermines the environment or is
socially unacceptable cannot be called development. Noting that
water-related disasters receive significantly more attention than the
world's chronic water problems, she stressed poor countries'
vulnerabilities and called for increased investment in water control and
development, combined with institutional development and community
Calling for global standards for social and ecological sustainability,
she noted the importance of innovation and increased financial flows.
Noting that all investments must be supported by robust regulatory
systems and involve all stakeholders, she identified good governance as
Sierra emphasized the need to involve local communities, share benefits
and take into account local and indigenous knowledge. She also called
for increased commitment by developed countries.
During the ensuing discussion, participants addressed: the definition of
"water security"; the role of legislation; the importance of disaster
prevention; the cost of not implementing IWRM; the need to involve civil
society; the role of education and active participation of local
communities; and the need to include social parameters in cost-benefit
analyses, while ensuring a fair distribution of costs and benefits among
Implementation of IWRM in national plans 2005: Presentations were made
by 25 speakers, including on regional surveys of IWRM implementation
carried out by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), UN Economic and
Social Commission for Western Asia, UN Economic and Social Commission
for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), Arab Water Council, Economic
Community of West African States, and the Water Development Office of
Martinique. There was a general call for: new approaches to water
management, including decentralization and increased public
participation; development of IWRM plans as part of broader national
development plans; and increased donor support to countries lagging
behind in the IWRM planning process.
Presentations also stressed the need for: poverty alleviation as the
ultimate goal of IWRM; capacity building; participation of all
stakeholders; strengthening the legal basis for basin management,
including enforcement measures; and alternative private sector sources
The closing panel discussion addressed: IWRM as a process with important
environmental, social and economic aspects; financial barriers for
developing countries; the importance of central government endorsement
of IWRM; and plans and strategies for cross-sectoral planning to ensure
Lessons learned on facilitating IWRM planning: Several speakers noted
that IWRM is a useful tool to mainstream water concerns into national
development strategies, and that it contributes to achieving the MDGs.
They also noted that IWRM should: aim at awareness raising, capacity
building and sustained cross-sectoral and multi-level participation;
induce a paradigm shift within government structures; address key
legislative provisions; incorporate feasible actions and timeframes;
mainstream a gender perspective; and address conflict prevention and
Participants discussed the need for: strong political will; local water
partnerships to promote top-down and bottom-up information exchange;
regional awareness workshops; acceptance of IWRM among water managers as
well as global decision-makers; and exchange of technological knowledge
and lessons learned.
Transboundary water management and regional integration in Africa:
Presentations identified challenges regarding transboundary water
management in Africa, including: economic and development challenges;
the lack of basic legal frameworks that integrate customary laws and
local mechanisms; ensuring transparency and accountability in
governance; and involvement of stakeholders at all levels, particularly
Speakers highlighted achievements of the Nile Basin Initiative, the
Niger Basin Authority, and the African Network of Basin Organizations
(ANBO). After a brief discussion, participants approved several
recommendations, including: increasing support for the IWRM process;
establishing new, and strengthening existing, transboundary basin
agencies; organizing a monitoring system for transboundary basins' water
resources at the continental level; and considering the elaboration of
an international African charter of waters.
Integrated management and governance: Several speakers said that the
water crisis is largely a governance crisis typified by poorly organized
institutions, weak legal frameworks, limited human and financial
resources, corruption and lack of transparency, and limited involvement
of major stakeholders in decision-making processes. They advocated:
reconciling diverse stakeholder interests; establishing responsibilities
and clear indicators for monitoring, evaluation and reporting; adapting
to local circumstances, including through using local expertise with
minimal new infrastructure; defining the roles and responsibilities of
local governments; improving capacity building and empowerment of youth;
developing legal frameworks for effective interaction between national
and local policies; and establishing clear mechanisms for financing,
coordination and infrastructure renewal.
Challenges of legal sector reforms: Presentations advocated: adopting
the "polluter pays" principle and the ecosystem approach; using flexible
norms and incorporating local proposals into legislation; strengthening
political will, building trust, and addressing reluctance to adjust
legal frameworks and difficulties in reaching agreement across all
sectors; and developing legislation that responds to public needs and
incorporates wide environmental and social considerations.
Participants also addressed: the involvement of all stakeholders,
including local authorities and institutions; the transfer of financial
resources from national to local levels; the effects of global
environmental problems such as climate change; and effective public
participation in the elaboration of laws.
The role of water and IWRM in the achievement of the MDGs: Participants
discussed the outcomes of the 2005 World Summit calling on all countries
to prepare MDG-based national development strategies and urging the
implementation of IWRM plans and strategies in these national plans. On
progress in achieving the MDG water supply and sanitation targets in
Africa, one speaker advocated a Pan-African, country-owned, regionally
supported water supply and sanitation MDG "roadmap" to provide a common
framework and enable the tracking of progress towards the MDGs.
Participants stressed the importance of: strengthening coherence between
planning and budget processes; supporting national policy dialogues;
mobilizing resources; developing frameworks for monitoring; making an
economic case for IWRM by using quantifiable data, involving finance and
economic planning ministries, and allowing the media to play a role; and
understanding other sectors' requirements.
Participants further discussed: how the informal sector can be brought
into IWRM plans; the need for dialogue addressing IWRM in conjunction
with other MDG issues; and the role of civil society in IWRM
Transboundary basin management: Participants advocated: the wide
adoption of a new water culture; joint planning and a common vision;
public participation in water management; database development and
monitoring; local expert training and delegation of responsibility;
international cooperation; protecting water and ecological resources
through, inter alia, wetland restoration and pollution reduction;
international coordination in parallel with national implementation;
respect for the human right to water; and the ecosystem approach.
One participant discussed transboundary water management in Africa,
recalling several recommendations, including: supporting transboundary
basin agencies; establishing observation and monitoring systems;
improving education and awareness; and increasing user participation.
Regional agreements on transboundary water management, which aim at
developing legal instruments, common visions and objectives, and
contributing to sustaining peace, were also highlighted.
IWRM in federative countries: Presentations focused on the need to:
consider diplomacy and dialogue as major IWRM challenges for
federations; apply the "polluter pays" principle; ensure adequate
technical and financial means; and recognize the tourism and
recreational potential of watershed management.
Participants also discussed: potential lawsuits and
provincial-state-federal conflicts, limits of the participatory approach
given water deficits, and incorporating the precautionary approach in
WATER SUPPLY AND SANITATION FOR ALL: This framework theme was addressed
on Sunday and coincided with the launch of the UN Human Settlements
Programme (UN-HABITAT) report "Achieving Global Goals in Small Urban
Centers: Water and Sanitation in the World's Cities," which addresses
water and sanitation needs in rapidly growing small urban settlements,
where a quarter of the world's population lives and where local
communities can barely afford clean piped water and adequate sanitation.
Detailed World Water Forum Bulletin coverage of these discussions can be
found online at:
Keynote address: In her keynote address, Anna Tibaijuka, UN-HABITAT
Executive Director, described a vision of the world where everyone can
access safe water and basic sanitation. She expressed support for the
4th Forum's focus on local actions, saying that water and sanitation
conflicts have to be resolved at the local level. She cited urbanization
as a core public issue in gross neglect, and noted that the MDG targets
are not being met. She also said that the water supply and sanitation
crisis has to be viewed as a crisis of governance, and urged sound
policies and country-level poverty reduction strategies to reflect the
MDG targets on water, sanitation and human settlements. Tibaijuka
lamented that Africa is not on track to meet the MDGs and, noting that
donor funding for water and sanitation is declining, she called for
implementation of policies to assist developing countries. She addressed
the need for "quick impact" initiatives, such as the Lake Victoria
Region Water and Sanitation Initiative, and highlighted the challenge of
developing monitoring mechanisms that reflect the voices of poor
Water rights: Three thematic sessions addressed the issue of water
Using rural and urban case studies from Mexico, the session on the human
right to water explored, inter alia: extra-curricular educational and
awareness-raising activities that help children in rural communities
explore the right to life; an urban neighborhood project that seeks to
facilitate the right to housing and water and entails the conservation
of water through rooftop rainwater collection; and commonalities between
urban and rural experiences in trying to ensure the human right to
The session on civil society perspectives on securing the right to water
presented several cases of indigenous and local groups' struggles
against privatization of water services and popular campaigns for an
integrated sustainable water plan. Among other things, participants:
stressed the importance of the International Covenant on Economic and
Social Rights as a mechanism requiring governments to implement the
right to sufficient and clean water; noted convergence in discourses
between civil society and some major institutions at the 4th Forum,
including on recognizing the right to water for all and shortcomings of
public-private partnerships; and highlighted that water has a profound
spiritual significance and is essential for justice and peace.
The session entitled "Right to water: What does it mean and how to
implement it?" addressed challenges surrounding the right to water and
sustainable natural resources management. The presentations highlighted
a number of international and national legal instruments that recognize
the right to clean water. Participants addressed the need to identify
the rights and responsibilities of public authorities and users, and
identified challenges, including non-payment by those who can afford to
pay, and lack of capacity at local level. WWC President Fauchon
presented the WWC report "The right to water: what does it mean and how
to implement it?" noting that it identifies necessary conditions for
guaranteeing the right to water and calling for an expanded dialogue.
Public policies for water and sanitation services: Several successful
cases of public participation and decentralization in the water sector
were presented during this session. New financing schemes and private
sector involvement were also described. Common themes emerging from the
presentations included the importance of clear and transparent rules,
defining the roles of different actors, developing regulations for
operator services, and improving local governance.
Delivering on the MDGs in three years: a model-setting regional
initiative: This session introduced the Lake Victoria Region Water and
Sanitation Initiative, a partnership formed in 2004 among the
governments of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda and UN-HABITAT to deliver
water and sanitation services to secondary urban centers around Lake
Victoria. The initiative was designed to show that the MDGs can be met
with modest investments and often through improvements to existing
infrastructure. Participants also presented a number of experiences in
sustaining new investments in water and sanitation for small towns
through capacity building, cross-subsidies and the application of
affordable consumption tariffs. Noting the importance of engaging
communities in water and sanitation, several panelists emphasized the
inclusion of women and children and the importance of such initiatives
to rural development and slowing urbanization.
The public-private controversy in water and sanitation: lessons in light
of the MDGs' requirements: The session examined privatization attempts
in Bolivia and in Brazil as well as findings from a research programme
on barriers and conditions for private investment in water supply and
sanitation. These findings show that: in most cases private funds are a
small percentage of investment; privatization requires public funding;
and the private sector is not more efficient than the public sector.
Panelists drew attention to chronic weaknesses in the regulatory ability
of states vis-à-vis the private sector, leading to difficulties in
follow-up and to non-compliance with legislation; problems regarding
lack of transparency in decision-making and operations; unfair bidding
practices; and inequitable, profit-oriented policies. They underscored
that water scarcity is an institutional and political problem and
stressed that the limits of market mechanisms must be recognized.
Safe drinking water for all: This session addressed water safety plans,
noting their benefits, such as access to safe drinking water at low
cost, as well as constraints for implementing them, including a lack of
trained personnel and water management agencies' reservations in making
new assessments. A number of presentations drew attention to how the
engineering community can help develop sound water management. One
panelist proposed a solution for cleaning up Mexican lagoons through the
installation of water treatment plants upstream that would be powered by
Public state policy impact on drinking water service delivery supply and
sanitation for urban use: This session elaborated on public water
policies in different Mexican states, noting that given the different
local characteristics of water problems in each Mexican state, solutions
cannot follow a single pattern. Panelists agreed on the importance of
decentralization, highlighted the problem of compliance, and noted
several disconnects between policy and practice. They also urged public
policy to focus on and invest in water systems' efficiency rather than
building new infrastructure, which is less profitable and often triggers
environmental and social problems.
Service delivery and local empowerment: turnaround of public utilities:
This session presented cases of efficient public water utilities from
Uganda, Honduras, Zambia and Mexico. Common themes emerging from the
presentations included the importance of: flexibility to ensure
innovation and financial sustainability; public participation in and
awareness raising on decentralization; transparent regulation of system
providers; and investing in strengthening institutions. Participants
also highlighted the difference between regulating water resources and
water supply and sanitation.
Desalination of seawater in the Middle East: This session explored
desalination of seawater as a solution for meeting future freshwater
demands. In addition to explaining the technical processes of
desalination, outlining the history of desalination, describing efforts
to expand desalination activities, and commenting on the potential for
future growth, one participant presented a research project on sea and
brackish water desalination through renewable energy in Mexico.
Participants discussed the environmental impacts of desalination and
seawater pollution, noting that development of this technology must be
cost-effective and environmentally friendly.
WATER FOR FOOD AND THE ENVIRONMENT: On Monday, participants addressed
the theme of "Water for Food and the Environment," convening in plenary
to hear a keynote presentation and an introduction to the framework
theme. They also attended thematic sessions held throughout the day.
Detailed World Water Forum Bulletin coverage of these discussions can be
found online at:
Keynote address: Carlos Slim Helú, Chairman of Grupo Carso, provided a
historical overview of water distribution, the climatic changes
affecting it, and humankind's relationship with water. He stressed that
in today's service-based economy, there is an urgent need for
investments in the water sector and for cultural change.
Addressing the water situation in Mexico, Slim Helú noted that the water
problem is fundamentally an investment problem and proposed the creation
of an autonomous water agency outside the national budget in the form of
a public-private partnership. He said this public service would operate
under the scheme of cost subsidies, highlighting the importance of
subsidizing lower-level consumption and noting that businesses would pay
the actual rate. Slim Helú said there would not only be a strong
business case for this, it would also be an environmentally and socially
In the ensuing discussion, participants addressed: rooftop rainwater
collection; flood management; leakages in water infrastructure; and the
political viability, technical expertise, and participatory mechanism of
the proposed autonomous agency. Emphasizing that payments for water
alone will not solve the water crisis in Mexico, several participants
stressed the importance of technology and raising awareness about water
conservation. Slim Helú acknowledged the importance of awareness but
insisted that the basic problem is water supply and treatment rather
Introduction to the framework theme: Louise Fresco, UN Food and
Agricultural Organization (FAO), argued that there can be no solution to
water issues without tackling agriculture and poverty. She noted that
agriculture is the most important user of water and that 70 percent of
the world's poor live in rural areas, thus depending on agriculture.
Arguing that agriculture can keep pace with the world's demographic
growth and that agricultural productivity is dependent upon water
productivity, she predicted that the 70 percent increase in global food
production required to meet the demands of the world's growing
population can be done with only a 14 percent increase in water use. She
underscored the importance of farmers' participation in agricultural,
environmental and water discussions, and said that adequately addressing
water problems will require an integrated approach and private and
public investments in the agricultural sector.
Financing water for agriculture: Jim Winpenny, GWP consultant,
introduced a progress report prepared by the Working Group on Financing
Water for Agriculture, which is comprised of representatives from the
GWP, WWC, FAO, World Bank and others. He said future needs include
modernizing and rehabilitating existing irrigation systems and upgrading
rain-fed and groundwater systems. Encouraging non-traditional funding
sources, he said the report calls for: functional government funding;
selective ODA; harmonized engagement of international financing
institutions; and increased cost recovery.
Other speakers identified the importance of:
addressing macro-economic factors such as population growth,
urbanization, changing lifestyles, and trade globalization;
investing in participatory governance frameworks;
open, competitive and transparent procedures;
risk sharing by private and public funds;
low-cost and adequate technologies, including recovered indigenous
capacity building, including for farmers;
quantifying and valuating ecosystem services; and
sharing innovation costs.
In the ensuing discussion, participants addressed: using wastewater for
irrigation and financial schemes to facilitate this; the need to address
indigenous peoples' interests; linking land and water resources
management to prevent deforestation and land degradation; and reducing
farmers' risks in the face of globalization.
Water challenges and perspectives in megacities: Participants described
experiences in water management in several megacities, including Los
Angeles, Beijing, Mexico City and Calcutta. They identified as
challenges: decreasing supplies of surface and groundwater; the need to
upgrade water works; pollution; and a lack of synergies among water,
land-use and environment planning. They stressed the need for: urgent
investments, including in the promotion of rainwater harvesting,
infrastructure development and maintenance, and ecosystem
rehabilitation; coordination among municipalities; and public awareness
of water conservation. One speaker called for the establishment of a
task force on sanitation under the World Water Forum umbrella.
Improving agricultural water productivity in dry areas: Noting that more
than one billion people live in dry areas, more than half of whom depend
on agriculture for their livelihoods, panelists in this session
underscored the need to consider productivity not in terms of yield per
area of land but in terms of yield per volume of water input.
Presentations focused on the importance of: science and technology
within an appropriate policy framework; considering both the biophysical
and socioeconomic components of water productivity; the role of improved
management practices; and a broader approach to water productivity in
Governance as a key factor for IWRM in megacities: Aiming to identify
characteristics of good governance for IWRM in megacities, presentations
addressed: strong networks; involving politicians; good public
information; close contacts between stakeholders; recognizing water's
role in development and poverty alleviation; and creating clear and
transparent water management legislation. One speaker noted that both
public and private utilities must have legal authority, control over
tariffs, and enforcement mechanisms.
Several speakers described efforts to improve water-use efficiency and
reduce consumption in megacities, including through rate structures,
irrigation with treated water, water-saving devices, environmental
education; information and knowledge exchange and dialogue; monitoring;
and stakeholder cooperation.
In the ensuing discussion, participants inquired about: water-saving
techniques; stakeholder participation in governance; inclusion of
sanitation costs in water tariffs; and payments for ecosystem services.
Water education for children and youth: Presentations focused on various
programmes and projects taking place throughout the world as part of
Project WET (Water Education for Teachers), an environmental education
programme focusing on water, and which aims to establish a network of
teachers educating teachers.
Speakers described several project examples, including in Mexico and the
US, noting that they: reach not only children, but also parents and
communities; aim to reach a wide range of stakeholders; and should be
combined with local action. Addressing challenges, speakers highlighted
that: school curricula often need updating to reflect new water agendas;
changing people's attitudes towards water management begins with early
education; education is a tool for building cooperation that can help
reduce conflict over transboundary waters; and replicating these
experiences in other countries requires specific adaptation.
Virtual water in the Arab region: One panelist defined virtual water as
the water used to produce crop commodities, and explained that virtual
water is traded when countries import crop commodities. Underlining that
food security does not mean self-sufficiency, but rather the ability of
a government to ensure physical and economic access to food for its
citizens, it was noted that including consideration of virtual water in
crop commodities could help water-scarce countries to achieve food
Speakers presented different success stories, stressing the need to:
ensure efficient transport between water-abundant and water-scarce
countries; include rainwater consumed directly by crops (i.e. "green
water") in virtual water calculations; address subsidies, price
distortions and international market competition; invest in
technological solutions; and take into account global socioeconomic
Struggle for a new water culture in Latin America and Europe: Defining a
new water culture as one that calls for "eco-friendly" and sustainable
management of water, and unites citizens' actions against the renewed
trend towards water mega-projects, speakers described the historically
strong public opposition to the construction of large dams and
privatization of water resources in Europe, which is inspiring a
worldwide scientific and social debate. One speaker called upon the EU
to adopt a coherent approach with respect to subsidizing large
infrastructural projects, noting that these projects often fail to
comply with EU policies. Others stressed the importance of political
will and judging infrastructural projects on a case-by-case basis.
Payment for environmental services: One panelist explained the concept
of payment for environmental services, saying it is based on two
principles: users must pay for the environmental services they enjoy,
and suppliers must be compensated for delivering them. He noted this
implies a "win-win" situation insofar as it is based on common
interests, and identified efficiency and sustainability as its main
Speakers highlighted national case studies and stressed the need to:
internalize and take into account environmental costs in economic,
agricultural and other policies; raise awareness among governments and
other stakeholders on the economic and social value of conserving
natural resources; strengthen institutions and enhance synergies; build
capacity; and promote monitoring and transparency.
During the ensuing discussion, participants addressed, inter alia:
determining land tenure; participation of indigenous people and the
poor; programme continuity between government administrations; reaching
equilibrium between supply and demand for environmental services;
payments for indirect environmental services; and determination of
Capacity development strategies and social learning: Several speakers
noted that investments in developing countries should be combined with
capacity building and emphasized that the ongoing paradigm shift in the
water sector requires flexibility and adaptability. They also identified
lessons learned, stressing the importance of: promoting dialogue between
institutions and communities, awareness raising and technical support;
focusing not only on technical know-how, but also on social and economic
aspects; stakeholder involvement; project continuity and sustainability;
communicating project benefits to receive support from communities;
scaling-up knowledge and incorporating it into decision-making
processes; and replicating successful projects to achieve results on a
RISK MANAGEMENT: On Tuesday, participants heard a keynote address by
Mario Molina, 1995 Chemistry Nobel Prize Laureate, on the theme of "Risk
Management" and met in thematic sessions on this issue. Detailed World
Water Forum Bulletin coverage of these discussions can be found online
Keynote address: Mario Molina, 1995 Chemistry Nobel Prize Laureate,
addressed the inter-relationship between global warming and the water
cycle. He described the greenhouse effect, highlighting that atmospheric
levels of carbon dioxide have risen dramatically over the past century
due to the use of fossil fuels and that 2005 was the warmest year in the
past 100 years. Molina underscored the dramatic impacts of climate
change on the water cycle, noting feedback mechanisms that will
stimulate temperature increase, including through a decreased reflection
of solar energy due to the melting of glaciers, and increased cloud
cover that will exacerbate the greenhouse effect. He predicted that the
water cycle will intensify, causing extreme weather events such as
hurricanes and increasing the frequency and severity of droughts and
floods. Highlighting the significant probability that if no action is
taken, the average global temperature will rise by eight degrees Celsius
by 2100, he said this as an "intolerable risk."
Introduction to the framework theme: Michel Jarraud, Secretary-General
of the UN World Meteorological Organization (WMO), noted that most
natural disasters are meteorologically induced, and emphasized the
importance of risk management that focuses on preparedness rather than
Carl Strock, Commander of the US Army Corps of Engineers, highlighted
recent disasters including the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami and the 2005
Hurricane Katrina, emphasized that all countries can be affected, and
said that lessons learned can be applied globally.
Global climate change and urban flood mitigation: Participants discussed
various phenomena, such as El Niño and tropical deforestation, which
affect climate scenarios. They stressed the importance of: partnerships
at the community level; community-based and participatory initiatives
that integrate climate change concerns; community participation in
disaster prevention measures to ensure public awareness; mobilizing
vulnerable local communities; and short-, medium- and long-term
hydrological participatory planning. Panelists also discussed challenges
of maintaining long-term continuity within water policies; pollution and
overexploitation of groundwater; and the need to strengthen
environmental policy and analyze environmental problems at the local
Hurricane Katrina and other major water-related disasters: The impacts
of 2005 Hurricane Katrina and the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami were
described by various participants. They encouraged: international
cooperation; the use of early warning systems and public awareness; and
increased planning, education and information dissemination. They also
stressed the critical role of protection systems, IWRM, citizen
participation and better communication, and highlighted activities
including armoring of levees and coastal wetland restoration.
Sustainability of water and sanitation services in the context of
disaster risk reduction: Participants reviewed the "Hyogo Framework for
Action: 2005-2015," which was adopted at the 2005 World Conference on
Disaster Reduction to help countries develop strategies for natural
disaster risk management. They emphasized the need to: shift from
emergency relief approaches to developmental approaches in
disaster-prone regions; rehabilitate infrastructure and develop
increased groundwater pumping capacity as risk reduction strategies;
involve local communities in preparedness and relief actions; ensure a
minimum level of water and sanitation services during emergencies;
improve cross-sectoral coordination; and promote education and training.
Groundwater and risk management: Participants stated that groundwater
tends to be undervalued and its dynamics poorly understood, and that
groundwater can be a cost-effective and reliable source of water that
can help meet the needs of the poor, especially women. They noted that
groundwater serves many functions that are now at risk due to human
pressures, climate change and disasters, and highlighted that
reinforcement of embankments, construction of dams and artificial ponds
and increasing land absorption capacity are strategies that have been
used to reduce the impact of extreme events. The effects of the 2004
Indian Ocean Tsunami on coastal groundwater and solutions to deal with
similar situations were also discussed.
Flood management: Participants stated that flood management is a
long-term challenge and emphasized the need for integrated flood
management techniques, stressing the importance of: strong legal
frameworks; emergency plans for preventing floods and flood regulation;
flood risk mapping; inundation control facilities; preparations for
smooth evacuations; and capacity building for effective relief, recovery
Role of dams and reservoirs in integrated flood management: Participants
encouraged the use of a coordinated, integrated approach to mitigate the
impact of floods through structural and non-structural measures, and
underscored the need for forecasting and warning, legal regulation,
land-use planning, ecosystem conservation and poverty alleviation. Some
participants noted that there is a risk that dams that are not designed
to accommodate larger floods could break, and that dams inhibit the
beneficial aspects of floods, such as sedimentation. They suggested:
managing floods as part of IWRM; favoring non-structural measures;
restoring river flows, floodplains and wetlands; controlling urban
development; improving dam design and operation; and developing early
warning systems. Other participants noted: that dams have proved to be
an effective measure to protect the population; positive experiences
with infrastructure, such as dams and floodplain reservoirs; the need to
use the opportunities created by flooding; and shift from flood control
to flood management strategies.
Reducing human loss of life caused by water-related disasters, including
tsunamis and landslides: Participants described the impacts of the 2004
Indian Ocean Tsunami, the 2005 Hurricane Katrina, and the 2006 landslide
in the Philippines. They emphasized the need for: comprehensive
multi-hazard vulnerability risk assessments; public awareness and
knowledge sharing; advanced climate studies; dissemination of tsunami
disaster and disaster prevention information to civil society;
community-based early warning and evacuation systems; and practical
strategies for risk management.
Five regional presentations took place from Friday to Tuesday,
highlighting regional and national developments in water management and
governance, and progress made towards the achievement of the MDG
AMERICAS: Benedito Braga, WWC Vice-President, opened the America's
regional presentation. Abel Mamani, Bolivia's Minister of Water, noted
that advance negotiations on the draft Ministerial Declaration of the
4th Forum did not reach consensus and urged including in the Declaration
a provision relating to the human right to water.
Maureen Ballestero, GWP, presented the regional document for the
Americas. She said water is vital for the region's economic and social
development, which must go hand-in-hand with proper management and
sustainability, and emphasized the need to achieve a balance between
"hard" and "soft" components of infrastructure. She highlighted advances
in several countries' implementation of the WSSD commitment to
developing IWRM and water efficiency plans by 2005, in particular
through approaches such as payments for ecosystem services. She noted
that sanitation services vary across the region and that treating
wastewater remains a major challenge for some Latin American countries.
She said that while preventive measures have improved, capacity building
for risk management remains a priority.
Jorge Mora Portuguéz, Central American Network for Water Action,
highlighted the establishment of an Advisory Board of the Americas and
called for continued participation of all sectors, increased economic
investments, and continued dialogue and efforts to establish water as a
priority in public policy.
Abel Mejía, World Bank, noted the lack of resources to integrate
legislative structures and water infrastructure in the region, but
expressed confidence that management will improve substantially by 2015.
He called for decentralization and sustained efforts to maintain water
supply for cities.
Antonio Vives, IDB, emphasized that water is not a common marketable
good. He also called for collaboration in exploring options for finding
resources, including in areas that may be self-financing.
Scott Vaughan, Organization of American States, highlighted progress in
identifying what constitutes good governance, and drew attention to
addressing climate change and climate variability, stressing the need to
include risk assessment in development plans.
EUROPE: Michel Rocard, former Prime Minister of France, stated that the
political will to tackle water issues is hampered by the fact that the
timeframe for resolving these problems extends well beyond politicians'
mandates. He also noted that governments not only have to change laws
but also the behavior of their citizens.
Forum Co-Chair Fauchon noted that 41 million Europeans do not have
access to safe water and that more cooperation and technology exchange
is required within Europe.
André Santini, President of France's Seine-Normandy Basin Organization,
highlighted a French scheme in which a portion of the water budget is
devoted to water development in Africa.
Benoît Lugen, Belgium's Minister of Environment, stressed the need for
better communication with water users and the need to create financial
mechanisms and regulatory frameworks.
Cristina Gutiérrez Cortines, Member of the European Parliament, noted
that Europe lacks a drought policy and urged the development of
long-term policies to enable more water sharing.
Marina Makarova, Environment Ministry of Georgia, stressed the need for
international cooperation to address research and financing limitations.
During a general discussion, participants emphasized that: fair water
use requires equitable, participatory and integrated management; water
basins should be managed within their natural boundaries through
international cooperation; water can become a catalyst for peace and
security; and access to water and sanitation for all can only be
achieved through solidarity and increased commitment by all
Panelists noted that Europe should promote community-based disaster risk
reduction in developing countries, rather than paying for post-disaster
emergency relief efforts, and discussed: the need for public funds for
wastewater treatment; the potential benefits of decentralized water
treatment systems; and the need for integrated and adaptive solutions to
address water scarcity, urbanization, rural development and risk
AFRICA: Maria Mutagamba, Uganda's Minister of State for Water and
President of the African Ministerial Conference on Water (AMCOW), noted
that while Africa appreciates aid, trade has more potential to reduce
Forum Co-Chair Fauchon acknowledged the positive work conducted by
African organizations including AMCOW and the African Water Facility,
highlighted the importance of technology, and called for the creation of
an emergency task force to ensure appropriate aid delivery.
Kordjé Bedoumra, Director of the African Water Facility, presented the
Africa regional report, noting that 300 million Africans currently lack
access to basic water and sanitation. He said the report's key message
is that Africa must build water infrastructure, including large dams, to
achieve the MDGs and sustainable development. He also prioritized action
on water governance and transboundary water management, and urged the
international community to enhance its support to the continent.
Josué Dioné, UN Economic Commission for Africa, said the processes that
countries underwent in contributing to the regional report should be
mainstreamed into national policy-making procedures.
Haoua Outman Djame, Minister of Water and Fisheries of Chad, highlighted
the African Ministerial Declaration to the 4th Forum, which calls, inter
alia, for improving infrastructure, environmental protection,
transboundary water management, IWRM, and early warning systems for
Anna Tibaijuka, UN-HABITAT Executive Director, stressed the need to
address urban water issues and announced the signing of a Memorandum of
Understanding with the African Development Bank for the release of
approximately US$ 550 million for meeting the MDG water target in
Jamal Saghir, World Bank, discussed water infrastructure development in
Africa, stressing the extent of infrastructure challenges ahead and the
links between water and poverty.
Noting that France has committed to doubling its efforts in water and
sanitation, Jean-Christophe Deberre, French Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
discussed the role of external support agencies in water development in
Africa. He stressed the need for effective follow-up efforts, collective
action, intelligence gathering and mobilization.
Michel Jarraud, WMO Secretary-General, described the extreme impacts of
droughts and floods in Africa and their links to climate change. He also
stressed the need to recognize, forecast and plan for these impacts and
to monitor and gather accurate information to effectively assess, manage
and mitigate risk.
African children delivered a message to the 4th Forum, urging
participants to work with them as future leaders of Africa in delivering
water to the continent.
MIDDLE EAST: Mokhtar Bzioui, WWC, noted that the region's water
potential is the lowest in the world and is declining. He said
challenges include improving financing, governance and water-use
Mahmoud Abu-Zied, AWC President and Egypt's Minister of Water Resources
and Irrigation, described the region's broad consultative process in
preparation for the 4th Forum, highlighting the involvement of
scientists and civil society.
El Mahdi Ben Zekry, Morocco's Deputy Secretary of State for Water, said
the region is characterized by precarious water resources, low average
rainfall and excessive evaporation, and is distinguished by a history of
great ancient civilizations that developed around the exploitation of
Noting that the region has the world's lowest per capita share of water,
which is further declining, with absolute scarcity expected by 2025,
Abu-Zied presented the region's major challenges and underscored the
need for improving governance, financing, and supply management balanced
with sustainable development.
Adel El-Beltagy, Director General of ICARDA, stressed the importance of
improved reliability and accountability in service delivery. He called
for a sustained level of investments and further research on novel
methods of irrigation and water harvesting.
Adel Bushnak, Bushnak Water Group, discussed non-conventional water
resources, including brackish groundwater used for irrigation, and
highlighted examples of successful public-private partnerships in the
Inger Andersen, World Bank, called for improved institutional frameworks
and accountability mechanisms to enable optimal use. She advocated
South-South learning and environmental stewardship.
Hideaki Oda, Japan Water Forum, recalled information-sharing experiences
between his country and the Arab region in the context of the 3rd Forum,
including on an innovative cost-sharing mechanism between upstream and
downstream regions in the Nile basin.
Amadou Boubacar Cisse, Islamic Development Bank, said the water sector
remains largely underfunded, drew attention to the institutional inertia
that characterizes water governance, and called for reform.
ASIA-PACIFIC: Ryutaro Hashimoto, former Prime Minister of Japan and
President of the 3rd Forum, said the region's diversity has been an
asset, rather than an obstacle, to finding solutions to water problems.
He officially launched the Asia-Pacific Water Forum, established by
ministers from the Asia-Pacific region.
Kim Hak-Su, Executive Secretary of UNESCAP, identified IWRM and risk
management as UNESCAP's two areas of priority action, and stressed that
Asia is the world's most disaster-prone area.
Geert van der Linden, Asian Development Bank (ADB), noted that many
countries have developed national water management strategies and
indicated that the ADB will double its water and sanitation investments
Datuk Keizrul Bin Abdullah, GWP, presented on the Asia-Pacific Water
Forum initiative, and identified its three priorities: increasing
investment in water and sanitation; reducing the vulnerability of human
populations to water-related disasters; and conserving and improving
water productivity through conservation and restoration activities.
Hafiz Uddin Ahmed, Minister of Water Resources of Bangladesh, said the
Asia-Pacific Water Forum should strive to provide 100 percent safe water
access and sanitation coverage in the region and reduce the
vulnerability of people to water-related disasters.
Abdukokhir Nazirov, Tajikistan's Minister of Land Reclamation and Water
Resources, highlighted the potential of the 2005-2015 UN Decade "Water
for Life" and reiterated Central Asia's commitment to strengthening
water cooperation in the region for the achievement of the MDGs.
Kay Kalim Kumaras, Ministry of Environment and Conservation of Papua New
Guinea, highlighted regional initiatives such as the Pacific Islands
Action Plan for Sustainable Water Management and the Joint Programme of
Action on Water and Climate.
PARTICIPATION OF MEXICAN MAYORS: On Friday, several Mexican State
representatives took part in a day-long session on experiences in water
management in Aguacalientes, Baja California, Durango, Mexico City,
Nayarit, Veracruz, Quintana Roo, Guanajuato, Tabasco, and San Luis
Potosí. Forum Co-Chair Jaime Jáquez moderated the panel discussion.
Participants stressed the importance of coordination among all levels of
government and of local participation. They also highlighted the need
for bilateral communication and cooperation regarding the management of
transboundary watersheds, the use of a long-term vision and an
integrated approach, decentralization and working with able and willing
municipalities, inter-State collaboration, and education programmes.
They emphasized that water is a common good that needs to be managed in
close collaboration across different levels of government and that
rainfall catchment and treatment of residual water can allow sustainable
The discussion also touched upon: access to drinking water and payment
for water services by people living in unplanned settlements; whether
the pricing of water services should be the responsibility of water
operators or governments; and States' policies on renewable energy and
efficient water use in new buildings.
Participating Governors and Mayors further called for: a cultural change
towards a sustainable use of resources; international funding to States
and municipalities for infrastructure development; and supplementary
actions, such as sustainable forestry and watershed management.
EMPOWERMENT AND DEMOCRATIZATION MULTI-STAKEHOLDER PANEL: This panel,
held on Tuesday, was part of the Empowerment and Democratization
Project, the aim of which was to present to the Forum examples of local
actions that resulted in concrete and substantial local change. The
Project encompassed: an overview of nine case studies of local
empowerment and democratization; two preparatory workshops held during
the Forum on Saturday and Tuesday, where local actions were presented
and key messages and questions were prepared; and a multi-stakeholder
panel session to summarize the results. The outcomes of the panel were
then presented to the ministerial roundtable on decentralization and
integrated as a distinct element in the Forum's final report.
During the panel session, nine case studies on local empowerment and
democratization were presented, and panelists elaborated on lessons
learned from these case studies, such as the importance of building on
existing processes, generating multiple technical and political
capacities, and building co-responsibility. Common themes emerging from
the discussion included: the observation that empowerment and
democratization are demand-driven processes; the need to understand
local and social dynamics; the need for dialogue and networking; the
importance of an enabling and enduring environment; and the importance
of linking social and institutional change. Panelists further noted that
as empowerment and democratization processes mature, they start to scale
up and have impacts on policy, but stressed that allowing adequate time
is essential. They also noted that although empowerment and
democratization are two sides of the same coin, they are not always
INTERGENERATIONAL DIALOGUE: On Tuesday, adult and children panelists
engaged in an animated debate on water, sanitation and education issues.
Participants lamented that 400 million children worldwide lack access to
safe drinking water, and that while children represent half of the
world's population, some six million will not make it to their fifth
birthday at the current rate of water-related deaths.
Children representatives from Japan, Kenya, Laos, Mexico, and the US
presented their local actions on water, sanitation and hygiene in
Throughout the dialogue, children raised the following questions: why
many children in developing countries must sacrifice education in order
to fetch water; what actions are going to be taken to address the dire
water and sanitation statistics; how children's proposals will be
incorporated into the 4th Forum follow-up process; and what type of
support will be given to children's projects worldwide. A young
representative from Africa called upon governments to support the
Children and Youth Alliance for Water and Sanitation launched at the 3rd
The adult panelists, representing governments of Malawi, Ethiopia,
Japan, and Mexico, as well as UNEP, UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the
World Bank, pledged their support to children's actions, and urged young
participants to "raise their voice" and "claim their rights to clean
water, sanitation and education."
The two-day Ministerial Conference, which convened in parallel with the
Forum, opened on Tuesday, with ministers and high-level officials from
some 140 countries gathering in both closed and open sessions, including
dialogues and roundtables.
OPENING OF THE MINISTERIAL CONFERENCE: On Tuesday, José Luis Luege
Tamargo, Mexico's Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources,
underscored the obligation to offer access to safe and clean water to
all citizens, stressed the importance of focusing particularly on the
local level, and emphasized the need for greater capacity and certainty
for access to financing and investment.
Highlighting that the 4th Forum had been characterized by open debate
and respectful dialogue, and drawing attention to governance issues,
Loïc Fauchon, WWC President, urged participants to affirm the right to
water. Fauchon also announced the launch of WWC's "Water for Schools"
initiative, which seeks to provide access to water for one thousand
schools in ten countries, and the creation of schools for training
In his keynote address, Ryutaro Hashimoto, Chair of the UN Advisory
Board on Water and Sanitation and former Prime Minister of Japan, spoke
on financing for local water projects, focusing on actions proposed in
the UN Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation's Compendium of Actions.
He said the Compendium sets out actions that key actors should take to
remove obstacles and bottlenecks in achieving the internationally agreed
water and sanitation targets, with a focus on: financing; water
operators partnerships; sanitation; monitoring and reporting; IWRM; and
water and disasters. Hashimoto stressed that national governments have a
major responsibility to enable operators to deliver on their
responsibilities, and emphasized that the international community must
provide incentives and support in a more consistent and coherent
fashion. Noting that financial resources are available, Hashimoto
stressed the need for stronger capacity at the national and local levels
to attract funding and said governments and utilities need to devise and
apply more equitable tariff systems.
MINISTERIAL DIALOGUE: Ministers convened for a dialogue on Tuesday
afternoon. Many countries supported the actions proposed by Hashimoto
and listed in the Compendium.
On financing, several countries called for greater support from
international financial institutions for water and sanitation projects.
Many also stressed the importance of focusing and supporting financing
at the local level. Drawing attention to the Gurría Task Force report,
they emphasized different forms of cooperation and financing options
beyond traditional ODA and public funding, highlighting micro- and
On governance, many countries stressed the importance of
decentralization and strengthening local authorities and institutions,
with several highlighting the need for effective stakeholder
participation. Some, however, cautioned against over-decentralization
and privatization, and underlined the importance of appropriate
regulatory regimes and strong and enforced national legislation ensuring
transparency and accountability in water management, particularly
regarding pollution, flood prevention and overall water management.
Countries were urged to submit progress reports on IWRM and water
efficiency plans to CSD-16 in 2008.
MINISTERIAL ROUNDTABLES: Six ministerial roundtables, held on Wednesday,
offered a platform for participating ministers and high-level officials
to exchange experiences on various aspects of water management. The
Chairs of the thematic ministerial roundtables then presented the
reports of their respective groups to the ministerial plenary.
Water efficiency and transfer of water-related technologies: Ministers
and high-level representatives noted that national water plans and IWRM
schemes should include the concept of water efficiency and increase the
application of technology, including rainwater harvesting. They
discussed the need for accurate data and financing for data collection
and information processing. They also addressed the need for capacity
building for successful technology transfer and implementation of local
solutions using traditional experiences and cultural practices. Some
ministers stressed that successful local experiences should be scaled up
and knowledge shared. Others emphasized the need to acknowledge the
roles of local authorities in IWRM, share data with neighboring States,
and the importance of energy-efficient desalination processes in certain
Capacity building for effective water management and basic sanitation at
the local level: After a brief presentation that emphasized that success
in meeting the MDGs is strongly linked to the availability of local and
national capacities, ministers and high-level officials focused on two
issues: who is responsible for capacity development and social learning
efforts, and how this capacity development and social learning applies
to water and risk management; and the importance of taking into account
gender perspectives for capacity-building policies and actions.
Responding to the first issue, many countries agreed that providing
solutions to water and sanitation supply problems is the responsibility
of all levels of government and civil society.
Regarding the second issue, many noted that although the role of women
in water management decision-making is widely recognized, it has not
been given due attention, and that gender mainstreaming is particularly
relevant for capacity-development programmes in the water sector. Most
countries also underscored that: investing in capacity pays off in the
long term; and that capacity-development actions need to be scaled up
and result in locally owned implementation.
Water for the environment: In this roundtable discussion, participants
were presented with two issues: what is the added value of including
considerations of ecosystem sustainability in IWRM, national
development, and integrated coastal zone management plans; and how
scientific, legislative and policy approaches can foster involvement of
local communities and traditional knowledge in water resources
On integrating ecosystem sustainability in management plans,
participants discussed integrating climate change, energy and
"environmental flows" into IWRM and ecosystem restoration. Several
government participants noted that sustainable ecosystem management is a
prerequisite for the sustainable management of water resources, with one
delegate calling for payment for environmental services at the national
level. Private sector participants urged improvements in technology and
innovation, water efficiency use, stakeholder participation, and a
discussion on tariffs. On better integrating local communities and
traditional knowledge, participants discussed: enhancing local ownership
to ensure that benefits of projects go directly to the poor; the
importance of indigenous participation in property rights discussions;
enforcing decentralization and community involvement by legal means; and
capacity building of traditional knowledge holders. Participants also
addressed the need to integrate ecosystem management and restoration in
poverty alleviation, and the role of women in changing the water culture
and reducing water pollution, waste and over-consumption.
Decentralization process, governance, institutions, and the enhancement
of all stakeholders' participation: Participants described national
experiences with decentralization, highlighting the need to empower
citizens through education and awareness campaigns that focus on legal,
institutional and policy arrangements. Many confirmed the need to
harmonize local interests with national, regional and international
interests, which calls for effective and institutionalized cooperation
and coordination among the different levels of governance, including
indigenous communities. One participant suggested requiring governments
to report on the decentralization process, including on intersectoral
Noting the need to tailor decentralization to the needs of individual
countries, especially developing countries, one participant said
policies should be legally framed to prevent frequent policy changes.
Another argued that decentralization without the proper policy
frameworks and political will results in implementation gaps and
exclusion, with another adding that the struggle against exclusion
differs from the struggle against poverty.
Discussion further focused on the need to define the tasks and
responsibilities of the different levels of government and of different
stakeholders, including the private sector. A private sector
representative called for incentives for businesses to establish the
necessary infrastructure, combined with a proper regulatory framework
set up by governments, noting that the private sector needs to align its
own business goals with social and environmental goals. Participants
also discussed the need for: gender equality as an integral part of
decentralization; national water quality standards; environmental
service payment mechanisms; downsizing to limit bureaucracy; and
cooperation and solidarity between nations.
Several participants noted the importance of stakeholder engagement,
stressing the need for accurate information accessible to all
stakeholders, and provision of sufficient time for stakeholder
engagement. They also discussed: political barriers to stakeholder
participation and the need to assign clear responsibilities; the
important role of public-private partnerships; the need for skilled
personnel; the effectiveness of local-level action; the engagement of
local women in water management; the links between decentralization and
good governance; and the importance of effective regulatory frameworks.
Noting that the right to water provides an effective framework for
public participation, some participants said countries should enshrine
water as a right in national legislation. One NGO stated that private
sector water management may weaken governance, and underscored that
water should be viewed as a public asset and a fundamental human right
and not a commodity. A private sector representative stressed the
benefits of private sector initiatives related to water.
Participants also discussed the need to: address political power and
information gaps by involving all relevant stakeholders; include
capacity building, infrastructure, financial support and the
construction of local public institutions in decentralization processes;
recognize that the right to water provides a legislative framework for
participation and decentralization; recognize the role of business; and
consider the creation of public-private funds for water and sanitation.
Financing local water and sanitation initiatives: Considering the fact
that in recent years financing for water has not increased
significantly, if at all, and recalling the warning from the Camdessus
Panel that the MDGs will not be met unless annual investments in water
services in developing countries are doubled relative to 2003 levels,
participants were asked to consider concrete actions to change this
situation, and were encouraged to focus on three key issues: ways to
mobilize financing for water and sanitation at the community level; ways
in which governments can help develop an enabling environment; and how
partnerships can best achieve action.
On ways to mobilize financing for water and sanitation at the community
level, participants agreed on the need to tap financial resources from a
variety of sources, and discussed, inter alia: cross-subsidies;
targeted, transparent and tapered tariffs; micro-enterprise and
micro-credit mechanisms with the involvement of women; and matching
schemes and partnerships among governments, private investors and
donors. They also highlighted that tariffs should internalize costs,
including environmental costs.
On ways in which governments can help develop an enabling environment,
several participants emphasized the need to decentralize both financial
and human resources. One delegate expressed a preference for
"deconcentration," whereby local governments and leaders are involved
but not all regulation is decentralized. Another country representative
emphasized the need to remove political influence on water utilities. To
this end, several country participants described positive experiences in
developing independent water boards with representation from various
sectors. Other participants highlighted the need for transparency,
accountability, good governance and effective regulation in attracting
funding as well as the need for technology transfer.
On how partnerships can best achieve action, participants agreed that
there is no single model. One government representative highlighted the
need for multi-stakeholder engagement. An intergovernmental organization
stated that public-private partnerships are not a panacea, citing
obstacles such as high initial costs, political and exchange risks, and
long payback periods.
Development and strengthening of national water monitoring mechanisms
and targeting: Participants at this roundtable were briefed on problems
related to monitoring, and presented with issues to be addressed,
including: how to ensure linkages and coordination of the monitoring
activities; how monitoring results could be best used to trigger action
and progress; and the role of global monitoring of water issues and
whether comparing needs among countries helps to prioritize action.
Countries and organizations then shared their experiences with
monitoring. Noting that the situation varies from country to country,
several participants suggested that every country establish its own
master plan and that any global targets be voluntary. A number of
participants drew attention to monitoring and forecasting for climate
change scenarios and for disaster preparedness programmes, and called
for including information on the environment. They also stressed the
need for legal and institutional arrangements and efficient organization
frameworks, and underscored the importance of transparency. Several
countries proposed that the UN create a manual or software for setting
up water monitoring systems. There were also calls to take both a
top-down and a bottom-up approach to monitoring, involving accountable
stakeholders at the local level and clearly assigning responsibilities.
An NGO representative noted that success should be measured in terms of
people served and not in terms of money spent.
CLOSING OF THE MINISTERIAL CONFERENCE: Keynote addresses: Jacques
Chirac, President of France, gave a closing video address, noting that
the challenge of achieving the MDGs is first of all financial, and
called for solidarity mechanisms. He said the prerequisites for
sustainable development are good governance and local participation.
Manuel Dengo, UNDESA, described UNDESA's work on the CSD Water Action
and Networking Database (WAND), a portfolio of water actions and best
practices. He noted the database's links with initiatives such as the
World Health Organization (WHO)/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme on
Water Supply and Sanitation, and said it offers a platform for dialogue.
Tetsuma Esaki, Japanese Vice-Minister of Land, Infrastructure and
Transport, highlighted the Ministerial Declaration and portfolio of
water actions that emerged from the 3rd Forum, noting that the draft
Ministerial Declaration for the 4th Forum aims to take its commitments
Paula Dobriansky, US Undersecretary of State for Democracy and Global
Affairs, said WAND provides information sharing of best practices and is
expected to: connect people; identify new partners to implement new
projects and programmes; and provide a framework for communication. She
underscored that WAND demonstrates a new way in which the UN can
implement action, and highlighted the importance of mechanisms that
provide real-time data on the effectiveness of actions.
Noting the CSD-13 decision to develop web-based tools to disseminate
information, Kenzo Hiroki, UNDESA, said WAND can link the Forum and UN
processes by facilitating the sharing of best practices, enabling
stakeholders to self-diagnose programmes and providing a tool for
Adoption of the Ministerial Declaration: Fernando Tudela Abad,
Sub-Secretary of Planning and Environmental Policy of the Mexican
Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, provided an overview of
the draft Ministerial Declaration, noting that it was developed during
an open consultative process. He said the final draft is based on broad
consensus, noting that Mexico would have preferred that the Declaration
was more ambitious and proactive. He noted that the appendices reflect
the work of all regional groups.
Bolivia proposed a "complementary declaration" made jointly by his
country, Cuba, Venezuela and Uruguay, stating, among other things, that
"access to water with quality, quantity and equity, constitutes a
fundamental human right" and that "States, with the participation of the
communities, shall guarantee this right to their citizens". He explained
that the document further: stresses that efforts will be made at the CSD
and other UN and international forums to recognize and make this right
effective; expresses concern at the possible negative effects that
international instruments, particularly free trade and investment
agreements, may have on water resources; and reaffirms the sovereign
right of every country to regulate its water and all its uses and
Tudela Abad stated that this document would be added to the outcomes of
the Forum, but not as an annex to the Forum's Ministerial Declaration.
Ministers adopted the Declaration by acclamation.
Comments on the Ministerial Declaration: After the Declaration's
adoption, several Ministers made comments.
Brazil commented that it did not support the reference to
"international" in the Declaration recognizing the Forum's contribution
to promoting the exchange of best practices and lessons learned on
"international" water and sanitation issues.
Stressing that these were not included in the Declaration, Austria, on
behalf of the EU and Switzerland, emphasized the importance of: the
right to water and sanitation; the need to maintain the sustainability
of ecosystems; and the importance of sustainable hydropower.
Venezuela supported the Bolivian proposal for a complementary
declaration that expresses water as a fundamental element of life, and
invited each State to become a "promoting force" to recognize this
Israel addressed incorporating alternative technologies for sustainable
management of marginal water resources.
Uruguay highlighted aspects of its constitutional amendment stating
water as the essential resource for life and access to water and
sanitation as fundamental human rights. He underscored that the
constitutional amendment states that sanitation and water supply for
human consumption are provided only by State agencies.
Nigeria emphasized the need to address the issue of corruption.
Ministerial Declaration: In this Declaration, Ministers reaffirmed the
critical importance of water for sustainable development and underlined
the need to include water and sanitation as priorities in national
processes, particularly national sustainable development and poverty
They also reaffirmed commitments to achieve the internationally agreed
goals on IWRM and access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation,
and the decisions of CSD-13 on: policy options and practical measures to
expedite implementation in water, sanitation and human settlements;
increasing resources for developing countries to achieve the
internationally agreed goals; and improving governance, enabling
environments and regulatory frameworks, which adopt a pro-poor approach
with active involvement of all stakeholders. Ministers also acknowledged
the input of the Forum for the follow-up segment on water and sanitation
of CSD-16 to be held in 2008.
The Declaration recognizes the importance of domestic and international
capacity-building policies and cooperation to mitigate water-related
disasters, the role of parliamentarians and local authorities in
increasing sustainable access to water and sanitation services and
support for IWRM. The Ministers also welcomed the launch of the WAND as
a means of implementing the CSD decision to develop "web-based tools for
the dissemination of information on implementation and best practices."
Forum Co-Chair Jaime Jáquez opened the closing plenary session, noting
that the theme of the 2006 World Water Day, celebrated on 22 March, is
"Water and Culture." Stressing that water is central for cultural
expressions and the survival of humanity, he stated that a new water
culture begins with each individual and requires understanding of its
environmental, social, economic and political dimensions.
Walter Erdelen, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Science,
emphasized that water problems cannot be solved by technical expertise
alone, and underscored the need to manage water in a holistic and
multidisciplinary manner. He noted the role of the UN Educational,
Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in facilitating agreements
on emerging ethical issues, citing its 2005 Convention on the Protection
and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions as an example.
Children representatives presented their statement, calling, inter alia,
for: fulfilling human rights and provisions on access to water and
sanitation; supporting children's activities; ensuring participation of
children in decision-making; law enforcement; investments to ensure
children's access to water; and education in support of a water culture.
Speaking for the legislators, Fernando Ulises Adame de León, Mexican
Congressman, reported on the outcomes of international legislators'
meetings during the Forum, emphasizing that legislative proposals on
water should be precise and adequately funded, and promote ethnic and
Enrique Peña Nieto, Governor of the State of Mexico, spoke on behalf of
local authorities, expressing their commitment to the MDGs and to IWRM.
He stressed the need to mobilize funds and ensure transparency, and
called for support to local governments from the national and
2006 WORLD WATER DAY CELEBRATION: Koïchiro Matsuura, UNESCO
Director-General, delivered a message to the 4th Forum on the occasion
of the 2006 World Water Day, held under the theme "Water and Culture."
Noting that the cultural dimension of water still requires a better
understanding, he highlighted UNESCO's activities on water issues and
its role in addressing the interface between culture, education and
science. He further emphasized the need for an ethically sound system of
water governance and respect for traditional and local knowledge.
WORLD WATER DEVELOPMENT REPORT: Matsuura introduced the second edition
of the World Water Development Report entitled "Water: A Shared
Responsibility," stressing its focus on governance as a key to
addressing the global water crisis and tackling poverty. He said the
Report is a product of collaboration among 24 agencies involved in water
resources management. He then presented its key findings, which included
access to clean water needs to be recognized as a fundamental right;
lack of access to water and sanitation is a cause of poverty and
disease, and hampers economic opportunities and political stability;
there is a need to focus on governance and the MDGs;
climate change will exacerbate water challenges;
while IWRM is the best approach to address problems holistically, only a
few countries have met the 2005 IWRM target set at the WSSD;
healthy ecosystems are essential for the hydrological cycle;
water is critical for socioeconomic development; and
water governance, including institutional capacity, legal frameworks and
resource distribution, need to be improved.
Gordon Young, Director of the World Water Assessment Programme,
identified the report's cross-cutting themes, namely: poverty
alleviation and preservation of the natural environment. He noted that
the report further addresses: drinking water supply and sanitation, food
security, education and social security, economic development, security
from extreme events, and environment sustainability. He said the
sensitive issues of corruption, rights and privatization were also
examined, and reemphasized that water is a shared responsibility.
Representatives of collaborating UN agencies, including UN University,
UNESCAP, UNEP, WHO, FAO, UN International Strategy for Disaster
Reduction, and UN Development Programme, welcomed the Report and
highlighted their contributions. Presentations were also heard by the
report's case study countries, including Brazil, Spain, Estonia, Kenya
KYOTO WORLD WATER GRAND PRIZE PRESENTATION: The Kyoto World Water Grand
Prize was awarded to Gram Vikas, an NGO working in India's State of
Orissa. The award aims to honor a distinguished individual or
organization whose work or activities aim to solve the critical water
necessities of communities and regions, and carries a prize of
¥5,000,000 to be spent on furthering the project.
Accepting the prize, Joe Madiath, Executive Director of Gram Vikas,
recognized the efforts of local people who contributed to the success of
Gram Vikas' work. He explained that people in 290 sites now have access
to toilets, showers, and 24-hour water delivery, highlighting 100
percent coverage in these sites. He emphasized that water and sanitation
constitute an enabling tool to build self-dignity and sense of worth,
particularly for women, and stressed the need to prioritize sanitation
and recognize that local actions do make a difference.
DATE AND VENUE OF 5TH FORUM: Forum Co-Chair Fauchon announced that the
5th World Water Forum will be held in Istanbul, Turkey, in March 2009.
Forum Co-Chair Fauchon thanked the Government and people of Mexico for
organizing the Forum, noting it was attended by almost 20,000
participants from 141 countries, with heightened participation of women
and youth. He highlighted key ideas emerging from the Forum, including:
the right to water and sanitation; local participation and action; a new
water culture of consuming less and managing better; centrality of water
for development; the political, economic and financial aspects of water
management; and the need for decentralization and other governance
processes to be implemented effectively.
Forum Co-Chair Jaime Jáquez highlighted the Forum's outcomes, noting
that 1600 local actions were presented and over 200 sessions were held
during the Forum.
Alejandro Encinas Rodríguez, Mayor of Mexico City, expressed hope that
the Forum's outcomes would make water a priority on national agendas and
noted the important role of public participation and local authorities
in Mexico's water governance. He stressed that water should be seen as a
common public good rather than as a commodity.
Encinas Rodríguez officially closed the Forum at 2:15 pm.
The World Water Forum Bulletin is a publication of the International
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