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4th World Water Forum

Mexico City | March 16-22, 2006

4th World Water Forum Concludes in Mexico City

The 4th World Water Forum concluded deliberations in Mexico City on Wednesday, with several ministerial roundtables on areas related to water management and a closing plenary session. The Fifth World Water Forum will be held in 2009 in Istanbul, Turkey.

Above: 4th Forum co-chairs Cristóbal Jaime Jáquez and Loïc Fauchon embrace during the closing Plenary, while Alejandro Encinas Rodríguez, Mayor of Mexico City, looks on.


Wednesday, 22 March
Roundtable: Capacity building for effective water management and basic sanitation at the local level

The roundtable on capacity development and social learning was co-chaired by the Philippines and Cuba. Richard Meganck, UNESCO-IHE, opened the session by noting that water management is facing increasing challenges, including water scarcity, climate change, urbanization and decentralization, and said these challenges require more capabilities of people and institutions strengthened at all levels. Discussion focused around two questions: who is responsible for capacity development and social learning efforts, and does it apply to water and risk management; and how important is it to take into account gender perspectives for capacity building policies and actions.
Roundtable: Water and the environment

José Luis Luege Tamargo, Mexico's Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources, intervening during the roundtable on water for the environment . In this roundtable discussion, delegates were presented with two questions, namely: what is the added value of including the ecosystem sustainability in plans of IWRM, National Development, and Integrated Coastal Zone Management; and how can scientific, legislative and policy approaches foster involvement of local communities and traditional knowledge in water resources management. Participants discussed integrating ecosystem sustainability in management plans, better integrating local communities and traditional knowledge, and the need to integrate ecosystem management and restoration in poverty alleviation.
Roundtable: Financing local water and sanitation initiatives

The roundtable on financing local water and sanitation initiatives was co-chaired by Paula Dobriansky, US Undersecretary of State for Global Affairs and Donald Buchanan, Minister of Water and Housing, Jamaica. Alan Hall, Global Water Partnership, opened the roundtable by noting that financing for water has not increased significantly, if at all, in recent years, and asking participants to consider concrete action to change this situation. Participants discussed how to mobilize funding at the community level, how governments can help to develop an enabling environment, and how partnerships can best achieve action.
Roundtable: Development and strengthening of national water monitoring mechanisms and targeting

Nelly Olin, France's Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development, and Hector Antonio Velez Andrade, Ecuador's Minister of Urban Development and Housing, chaired the roundtable. Participants heard a presentation by Daniel Zimmer of the World Water Council on problems related to monitoring. Several countries shared their experiences in monitoring, with some drawing attention to the value of monitoring for disaster preparedness and climate change scenarios.
Closing of the Ministerial Conference

President of France Jacques Chirac addresed the ministerial conference through a video message. He noted that water presents not only a health crisis but a political crisis that needs to be prioritized. He added that lack of access to water supply and sanitation is first and foremost a financial issue, and urged imagination for finding solutions and new financing instruments. He also underscored the importance of ensuring good governance and local democracy.
Plenary

Cristóbal Jaime Jáquez, Director General of CONAGUA, 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 one of us and requires understanding of its environmental, social, economic and political dimensions.



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 children participation in decision-making, including through the establishment of a Children's Parliament; law enforcement, including the "polluter pays" principle; investments to ensure children's access to water; and education in support of a water culture.

Stressing the key role that young people play in implementing local actions, a Youth representative called for investment in young peoples' education, taking into account local knowledge.

Koïchiro Matsuura delivered a message to the 4th Forum on the occasion of the 2006 World Water Day and introduced the Second Edition of the World Water Development Report entitled "Water: A Shared Responsibility."

Gordon Young, Director of the World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP), presented the Report's cross-cutting themes, namely: poverty alleviation and preservation of the natural environment.

Representatives of collaborating UN agencies, including UN University, UNESCAP, UNEP, WHO, FAO, UN-ISDR, and UNDP, welcomed the Report and highlighted their contribution. Presentations were also heard by from the Report's case study countries, including Brazil, Spain, Estonia, Kenya and Mexico.
Kyoto World Water Grand Prize

Kimiko Yamauchi, Chair of the Soroptimist International of Kyoto, explained that the Kyoto Prize was created to spread the positive impacts of increased awareness globally. Urging continuous progress, she congratulated Gram Vikas for winning the Kyoto Water Prize.


Accepting the prize, Joe Madiath, Executive Director of Gram Vikas, recognized the efforts of local people in the province of Orissa who contributed to the success of the project. 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, including for the poor.
Closing Remarks

Loïc Fauchon, World Water Council President, announced that the 5th World Water Forum will be held in Istanbul, Turkey, in 2009. Alejandro Encinas, Mayor of Mexico City, expressed hope that the Forum's outcomes would make water a priority in national agendas and noted the important role of public participation and local authorities in Mexico's water governance. He concluded by stressing that water should be seen as a common public good and not as a commodity.
Around the Forum

Rina from the conference Secretariat was flanked by Xenya and Maria of the IISD bulletin team.

Participants chatted in the lobby after the closing session.

The closing plenary session included a mariachi band.

Koïchiro Matsuura, UNESCO, displayed the Second Edition of the World Water Development Report, "Water: A Shared Responsibility."

At times, security found it difficult to keep photographers and ministers apart.

Venezuela's minister highlighted a complementary declaration expressing water as a fundamental element of life, and inviting everyone to become a "promoting force" to recognize this right.

Participants read the World Water Forum Bulletin to stay aware of the previous day's outcomes.

More Information

4th World Water Forum Site
Conference Program
World Water Council

Related Links

3rd World Water Forum,
Kyoto, Shiga and Osaka, Japan, March 2003
Ramsar Convention on Wetlands
Ramsar COP-9,
Kampala, Uganda, November 2005
3rd Global Conference on Oceans, Coasts and Islands,
Paris, France, January 2006

DigiMarc

Happy World Water Day!


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