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6th World Water Forum Kick-off Meeting

The inauguration ceremony of 6th World Water Forum to be held in March 2012 in Marseille, was held in 2 June at the Elysee Palace (Palais de l'E'lyse'e). The members of the WWC's Board, the diplomatic corps, leading experts from international and national organizations operating in the water sector were invited to this event.

Prof V.A.Dukhovny, Director of ICWC, Board member of the World Water Council, Mr. N.Sh. Ernazarov, Deputy Chief of the General Water Management Department at the MAWR of the Republic of Uzbekistan and Mr. B.Alloev, the Ambassador of Uzbekistan in France attended the opening ceremony as representatives from Central Asia.

Mr. Nicolas Sarkozy, The President of France, in his welcoming speech, has noted, that France is proud of achievements in water management, water industry, and therefore initiates with pleasure organizing the Forum. He has appealed to "make water as protected resource in order to distribute it inside a country and among countries". He emphasized the role of Marseille and its mayor - Mr. Jean-Claude Gaudin, Vice-President of Senate, who made Marseille as a leader of water management not only in France but also in the Mediterranean region. Mr. Sarkozy has expressed the hope that preparation and conducting the Forum will allow to strengthen international cooperation in the water resources management and use, and will ensure the achieving of the Millenium Development Goals especially aiming to combat hunger and poverty, and to ensure access to water. Mrs. Chantal Juanno, the State Secretary of the Ministry of Environment, Mr. Gaudin, Mayor of Marseille, as well Mr. Loic Fauchon, the President of the World Water Council, have adressed their speeches to the participants.

The main event was in next 2 days in Marseille. Opening the meeting in the Palais du Pharo, Mr. Gaudin said that Marseille has a history of 1600 years. This is a history of fight for karst water coming to city from long distance, and of fight with constant sea water effect on urban territory. But the city is successful in the water and sanitation management and the wastewater treatment and reuse as well protection of shores and coastal area. The water management of the city and the Provence province cooperate successfully with many of neighbors from the developing countries of Northern Africa in the Mediterranean region, assisting them to improve water supply and sanitation.

The aim of staying the WWC in Marseille and attention of city's and province's administrations to WWC's activity is to transform Marseille and the large scientific centers in Montpellier, Toulouse into the World Water Center of the Globe. We are proud of the voice of Marseille which is being listened by all of the world and we are sure the 6th World Water Forum will help to overcome the world water crisis.

Mr. Loic Fauchon, President of WWC, described the features of the water sector development in the world. With all the efforts of governments, international financial institutions and the world community more than a billion people lack access to water, and more than two billion people - to normal sanitation. Achieving the Millennium Development Goals becomes very problematic to 2015, since the financial crisis has strongly affected the poverty alleviation and decrease of hunger. Number of people living on less than one dollar a year, has doubled in recent years. Within this problem a water for irrigation is very important because investments and increasing of irrigated lands are reduced sharply. In these conditions the governments and IMF have to be addressed to problems of water saving and increasing of water productivity.

The State Secretary of the Ministry of Environment has emphasized that the French government consider a water as a social benefit and not as only an instrument of economical growth. The water volume on the planet for one person will be much less to 2030. At the same time 90% of the population will live in transboundary river basins. In order to enhance the equality in the allocation of waters of international watercourses, France officially will join the UN Water Convention soon and appeals to other countries to follow them. Human rights begin with a water, so be on the eve of the Forum, the main attention has to be focused on ensuring the legal rights to water for drinking, domestic use, food production and environment need.

Dr. Ben Braga, Co-Chair of the International Committee of the Forum, Vice-President of WWC, announced that the co-chair of the Committee from the Government of France is the Head of the President's Staff. The main focus of the Forum, unlike previous ones, should be not the emphasis on existing issues, but on specific actions to overcome water shortages, unmanageable water, violation of nature needs and rights to water. The Road Map should consist of engineering tools, innovations and political actions (related to each other) of all countries of the continent. In advance of the 6 WWF the people's enthusiasm is needed and a clear order to the decision makers is to be given as follows:

  • development has to be based on the professional analysis;
  • unpossible movement according to the business-as-usual scenario;
  • modernisation of the whole water sector;
  • unpossible modernisation of water use within existing organizational structures;
  • establishing sustainable financial mechanism;
  • water saving;
  • progress can be made only with political will and support.

Mr. Andras Szollosi-Nagy, Chair of the Political Process of the Organizing Committee has presented the Action Plan which is aimed to create the global political water platform:

  • involving the mayors of cities to join the Istanbul Water Consensus;
  • organizing the parliamentarian group on strengthening water governance oriented to formation of the Global water parliament;
  • improving the understanding by governments and ministers of needs to elaborate the water strategy on the national and regional levels and to join the water conventions;
  • organizing the ministerial process on preparation to the Forum.

The World Water Council through a working group on transboundary issues will prepare a series of recommendations, documenting best examples of current practice, progress, and strengthening cooperation on international watercourses, what will contribute to economic growth, conservation of nature and strengthening water security.

Thematic Committee presented to consideration of participants 10 main themes of the Forum:

  • strengthening water governance
  • access to water and sanitation
  • rights to water
  • climate change
  • balancing multipurpose use
  • best practice and creation of potential
  • transboundary problems
  • water and food
  • management of risks and catastrophes
  • innovations for extensive use