Every three years since 1997, the World Water Forum (WWF) mobilizes creativity, innovation, competence and know-how in favor of water. It gathers all stakeholders around today’s local, regional and global issues that cannot be undertaken without all stakeholders into a common framework of goals and concrete targets to reach. The goal of the 6th World Water Forum in Marseille was to tackle the challenges our world is facing and to bring water high on all political agendas. There will be no sustainable development while the water issues remain unsolved. Everywhere on the planet, for all and everyone, the Right to Water (recognized by 189 states at the UN one year ago) must be guaranteed and implemented.
The WWF is organized by the World Water Council (WWC). The World Water Council is an international multi-stakeholder platform. It was established in 1996 on the initiative of renowned water specialists and international organizations, in response to an increasing concern about world water issues from the global community. The World Water Council’s mission is “to promote awareness, build political commitment and trigger action on critical water issues at all levels, including the highest decision-making level, to facilitate the efficient conservation, protection, development, planning, management and use of water in all its dimensions on an environmentally sustainable basis for the benefit of all life on earth.”
The Topic of this year’s WWF was “Time for Solutions” and had a focus on translating thematic priorities to actions. Discussions in the WWF are only a step within the current policy process addressing issues around Water. From an EU perspective it is worth to mention the previous discussions around the EU Water Initiative under the Hungarian Presidency 2011 as well as the NEXUS conference in Bonn 2011, bringing together the areas of Water, Food security and Energy.
For 2012 this policy process will have a particular highlight in the Conference on Sustainable Development Rio+20 which is taking place in June. Further more specific on Water related issues specialized event is the World Water week which will take place in Stockholm from 26 to 31 August.
The Thematic Framework of the World Water Forum which was discussed in numerous panels from Government to Civil Society level identified key themes where the water community and wider World Water Forum stakeholders can contribute in practice to sustainable development. The International Forum Committee has adopted its Thematic Framework based on 12 Priorities for Actions within 3 overall Strategic Directions and 3 crosscutting Conditions for Success.
The overall strategic Directions were:
· Ensure everyone’s wellbeing
· Contribute to economic development
· Keep the Planet blue
The cross cutting Conditions are:
· Good governance
· Financing Water for All
· Enabling environment
More details on the 12 thematic priorities under the 3 strategic directions can be found here.
The ministerial declaration (attached) also confirms the critical role of Water in all sectors and systems and highlights link between Food security and Water and Energy. Also the contribution of Water to policies towards a green economy should be promoted in a manner that leads to achievement of poverty eradication, growth and job creation while preserving ecosystems and tackling climate change.
Additionally there is a reference on the central role of Water and sanitation in Humanitarian situations in implementing the humanitarian reform principles. Improved coordination should help to develop adequate LRRD strategies towards sustainable access to safe drinking water and sanitation.
The European Commission was represented on High level with Development Commissioner Piebalgs (speech en francais ci-joint) at the ministerial meeting and with Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Georgieva for a high level event on Water and Emergencies. From a RC view it was interesting to notice on the stand of the EC an interactive worldmap with all the ACP – EU Waterfacility projects where a high number are implemented by IFRC and RC NS. In addition they displayed a video which was produced in Namibia and presents the Watsan project implemented by IFRC/ SweRC/ BelRC and Namibian RC.