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Official greetings

Water Brings All Together

Turkey is fully aware that water is ever-increasingly becoming the single most precious and essential item that sustains life in this world, enabling all humanity as well as nature to survive. We perceive water as a crucial element of civilization. In this regard, the Turkish proverb “Water brings life" has a special place in our culture. Without doubt, the future of life and civilization on earth depends on water.

In recent years, Turkey has made great progress in this area and has participated actively in World Water Fora and Ministerial Conferences. 2009 will be recorded in history as a year during which all the progress made on water-related topics since the Rio Conference, Agenda 21, UN Millennium Development Goals and the 2002 Johannesburg Plan of Implementation will be reviewed and new initiatives will be discussed. The year 2009 will also mark the halfway point of the 2005-2015 UN Decade of Water for Life.

The 5th World Water Forum will be convened under the theme “Bridging Divides for Water". Given the unique geographical location of Istanbul, bridging West and East as well as connecting the North and South axis, Turkey is the dream country to fulfill the purposes and goals of the Forum.

Istanbul will be the venue for participants from all governments, parliamentarians, international organizations, local authorities, institutions, the private sector, major groups, non-governmental organizations and academia who will come to the Forum to develop new ideas that will have the greatest possible impact on all issues in the field of water. We regard this gathering as being of the utmost importance.

Let us commit ourselves to the creation of a sustainable 21st century that will be the inheritance of our children who will embrace and continue to manage water with gratitude for the following generations.

We look forward to welcoming all participants to the 5th World Water Forum in Istanbul in 2009, with traditional Turkish hospitality, in order to come together for a prosperous and wealthy world.

Recep Tayyip ERDOGAN,
Prime Minister of the Republic of Turkey

Invitation To The Water Forum

Dear Colleagues,

I am pleased to reiterate the invitation for you to join us at the 5th World Water Forum, which will take place in Istanbul, Turkey, from March 16-22, 2009.

We are honoured that ‹stanbul is to be the host city of one of the most important events in the world. Istanbul connects continents; water connects people. It is our sincere belief that the overarching theme of the 5th Forum, "Bridging Divides For Water" clearly reflects this understanding and solidarity. This theme ties in very neatly with the theme of World Water Day in 2009, “water connects”, which implies collaboration, cooperation and solidarity among sectors and communities. With these common objectives, I am sure that the 5th World Water Forum will provide a scientific and intellectual platform for water experts and users, parliamentarians, Ministers, Heads of States and the public-at-large to seek concrete and applicable outcomes for all of humanity. Our sincere hope is that the 5th World Water Forum will make a huge difference in this sense.

In addition to its presentation of components related to conceptual issues, the political process and communication aspects, this First Announcement includes some of the major debates and events which will take place in Istanbul. The Second Announcement, to be published in March 2008, will include more complete details on the week of the Forum, while the Third Announcement will be ready for November 2008.

We hope to welcome you to Istanbul, both in preparation for the Forum and during the week of the event itself. It is very important for us that you participate in the different regional events prior to the Forum so that we may all arrive with clear, viable proposals for making further progress towards attaining the goals which the world water community has put forward at different international events, and thus to contribute to bridging divides for water.

As the Minister of Environment and Forestry, I hereby invite you all to take part in this prominent activity by bringing your experience, sharing your know-how and contributing to the action of the international water community. On behalf of the Turkish water community, I will be greatly honoured to work hand in hand with you anywhere in the world.

Veysel EROGLU,
Minister of Environment and Forestry

Global Threat: Water Scarcity!

Water is a vital need for life and the development of civilizations. For that reason, the first civilizations in history appeared in regions which are rich in terms of water, such as Mesopotamia in Anatolia and the river Nile in Africa, and established the grounds of agriculture, trade and science.

However, as industry developed leading to environmental pollution, the rapid and unconscious utilization of resources placed the question of global warming on the agenda. Global warming, the greatest problem of the 21st century, led to shortages in the availability of water resources. Thus, country states must take the necessary precautions to initiate not only local but also global water policies.

Istanbul, which is greatly important with regards to its strategic and geopolitical position, has witnessed losses in the availability of its water resources through the effect of global warming and now, despite it having an inland sea, faces the danger of lack of water. Thus, at Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, we are striving to inform our citizens about global warming, conscious utilization of resources, water saving and acting as individuals in collaboration with universities, non-governmental organizations and relevant bodies. It is not sufficient to take measures and make decisions at the governmental or local level for the solution of water problems, which interests not only our country but also the neighboring countries.

Istanbul is going to host the "5th World Water Forum", to be organized in March 2009, in order to develop effective and long-lasting solutions to the lack of water, which interests the whole world as a global threat. The Forum which will be organized under the theme of "Bridging Divides for Water" in addition to all the studies on preservation and utilization of water resources conducted until now, will be particularly important as it will be held in our city, which connects Asia with Europe.

I hope developments in line with the decisions taken in the 2009 5th World Water Forum and measures taken in today's conditions will solve the water problem.

Mayor of Istanbul

Convey The Message On Water

Water is one of the key priorities for this century. Humanity will move towards peace and development only if it ensures access to water and sanitation to the largest majority of the people on this planet.

But in order to succeed, we need to express the strongest ambitions to the service of a flawless solidarity. The Millennium Development Goals are already universal but they are an example of what must be implemented in all places there is a shortage of water or where sanitation is lacking. In short, everywhere dignity and freedom need to be guaranteed.

The organisation of the World Water Fora is an element of this development, contributing to bringing together men and women defending the same cause, fostering collaborations between institutions at all levels in order to define policies and allowing for the setting up of concrete actions.

After Marrakech, The Hague, Kyoto, and Mexico City, the great water family will gather in Istanbul in March 2009, at the Turkish people’s invitation. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Government of Turkey for its hospitality and its commitment alongside the World Water Council.

Our Council and its three hundred member organisations are entirely mobilised to turn this major event into a landmark on the long road of access to water for all.

However, the 5th Forum of Istanbul will not only be a week of meetings at the highest level. It is already a process that was started in Mexico and that will continue well after 2009. And only the quality of the work carried out and the commitment of the participants mobilised around this event can guarantee the success of this process.

Bringing together all the competencies on water, “bridging divides for water”, such is the ambition shared by Turkey and the World Water Council. Each of us, whether at the international or local level, must contribute to the task. It is only with everyone’s participation, with your participation, that we will be able to pass on clear and concrete messages to all those who have power of decision.

Join us to formulate these messages and bring them to Istanbul in March 2009. You are warmly invited. You are welcome.

President of the World Water Council

Bridging Divides Between Contrasting Perspectives

The World Water Forum was established as an open, multi-stakeholder participatory process, which builds on the knowledge, experience and input of the global water community and enables multi-stakeholder participation and dialogue to influence water policy-making at a local, regional, national and global level, thus ensuring better living and respect for the principles of sustainable development to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

Being the largest global water event, focusing on the ever-increasing nature of water-related problems, and their crucial importance to human beings, the World Water Fora are built on the knowledge and experience of different types of organizations active in global water policy. It is a venture founded on the principles of collaboration, partnerships and innovation.

The Forum is a constantly-evolving process, prepared during the twoyear period prior to the actual event. After the previous Fora, held in Morocco (1997), the Netherlands (2000), Japan (2003) and Mexico (2006), the 5th World Water Forum will be held in March 2009 in Istanbul, Turkey.

Given Turkey’s strategic position between East and West, North and South, but also the conceptual barriers between different water cultures, between developed and developing regions of the world, and the need to bring together the many ongoing initiatives around the world related to water issues, “Bridging Divides for Water” has been chosen as the overarching theme for the Forum in Turkey.

Bridging divides implies creating enhanced understanding and improved information exchange between and amongst water users, decision-makers, the media, water practitioners and experts, at local, regional and global levels. It also involves creating or reinforcing existing connections and interactions between the various uses and sources of water, such as water and health, water and sanitation, water and finance, water and energy, water and climate, water and food, freshwater and seawater, and so on. The theme also pertains to the bridging of gaps in water technology, financing, capacity and management, with shared knowledge and experience. Bridging divides between these contrasting perspectives will provide an opportunity to rise above differences and bring various stakeholders and sectors closer together. Water should create connections. It is time to bridge the divides for water!

The Turkish government and the World Water Council, the co-organizers of the 5th Forum, are thus honoured and pleased to invite you to join in with these efforts over the coming two years, to ensure that the 5th Forum can build on and learn from the successes and pitfalls of its previous editions, to truly make a difference to the lives of communities around the world. The Forum is your platform, your opportunity to raise awareness of and increase the importance accorded to water issues at the political level. This first announcement aims to illustrate the ways in which the Forum will be organized over the next two years, and the many processes in which you can take part.

Secretary General of 5th World Water Forum

Daniel ZIMMER,
Executive Director World Water Council