World Water Forum in Marseille – Review (March 12 – 17, 2012)
The 6th World Water Forum ended in Marseille on March 17 after a week of action in support of “water solutions” at the invitation of the French government, the city of Marseille and the World Water Council. South Korea and the city of Daegu will host the next Forum – the 7th Forum - in 2015.
More than 20,000 people from more than 170 countries, representing governments, parliaments, regional and local authorities, international organizations, companies and public and private research centers and civil society, participated in numerous thematic and regional workshops. Participation by local and regional authorities in a Forum has never been so high: almost 500 local elected representatives endorsed a joint political message. The strong involvement of young people, women and non-governmental organizations gave a new face to this forum which was especially appreciated and which helped to link these debates on water to major social and international challenges.
Alongside several Heads of State and Government, the Prime Minister, François Fillon, announced, at the opening of the Forum on March 12, France’s commitments. Under the chairmanship of the Minister responsible for Cooperation, Henri de Raincourt, the ministerial conference brought together more than 100 ministers and made it possible to adopt by consensus an ambitious ministerial statement, notably stressing the need to speed up the implementation of the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation. 12 ministerial round tables led to recommendations on important topics such as transboundary water management, water and green growth, waste water management, and the links between water, energy and food.
These results will make a significant contribution to upcoming events on the international political agenda, first and foremost the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in June. The first round of negotiations on the Rio outcome document will take place this week in New York.