L'ACQUA DA JOHANNESBURG A KYOTO
> LE PREMESSE DI KYOTO
da Johannesburg a Kyoto
Water Emerges as a key issues
In recent years, the international community's interest in water issues has seen
rapid growth in intensity. In 1987, in response to this heightened interest, the
Brundtland Commission (The World Commission on Environment and Development), proposed
"sustainable development" to the world, and identified water as a key
issue amongst global environmental concerns in its report "Our Common Future".
At the Water and Environment Conference held
in Dublin in 1992, discussions of water and environmental issues were extensive.
Later that year, at the Earth Summit (United Nations Conference on Environment
and Development) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the importance of securing fresh water
resources was advocated. This attention in the 1990s to water issues was tempered
by the global realization by experts that international co-operation on water
issues was proving inadequate to the task of responding to disasters including
frequent droughts and resultant desertification, large-scale floods and the pollution
of both surface and underground water. There was also global realization that
the world's limited water resources were being badly managed, and that a mechanism
was needed particularly to bring together professionals from all water-related
disciplines and, in addition, to gather all water resource stakeholders.
Birth of wwc and gwp
It was in that atmosphere that two international
organizations were established in rapid succession in 1996. The first was the
World Water Council (WWC), an international think-tank for water issues, established
through the initiative of water specialists, the academic community and international
organizations. The second was the Global Water Partnership (GWP), an organization
created with the joint support of a number of international funding organizations,
with a mandate to support integrated water resource management in developing countries.
1st water world forum
To encourage the development of such positive
international trends, to support the deepening of discussions towards the solution
of international water issues in the 21st century, to formulate concrete proposals
and to bring their importance to the world's attention, the World Water Forum
was proposed by the WWC. The 1st World Water Forum was held in Marrakech, Morocco
in March 1997. At this Forum the WWC was given the mandate to develop a vision
for Water, Life and the Environment in the 21st Century.
Preparation for the 2nd World Water Forum, including the
creation of the World Water Vision, consisted of a number of lead-up international
conferences, complimented by extensive worldwide internet discussions of water
issues involving more than 15,000 people of the world. The 2nd World Water Forum
came to a successful conclusion thanks to the efforts of the Dutch Government
and water related institutions and organizations. 5,700 people genuinely concerned
about water gathered from all over the world for active discussion of water issues
and the World Water Vision was presented. A Ministerial Conference, with the participation
of 114 ministers and officials from 130 countries, was held to coincide with the
Forum and adopted the Declaration of The Hague. Meanwhile, the GWP conceived a
Framework for Action that delineates a strategy for the realization of the World
Water Vision by 2025 and prioritizes actions to that end. Framework for Action
was presented at the 2nd World Water Forum as well. Besides, as one time initiative
of the Dutch Government to invite private sector and stakeholder organizations
to demonstrate concrete examples of solutions to the world's water issues, the
World Water Fair was held parallel to the 2nd World Water Forum and had visits
of 32,500 people.
Japan selected as 3rd Forum Venue
WWC Board of Governors , meeting held in The Hague after the 2nd World Water Forum
in March 2000, it was decided that the 3rd World Water Forum would be held in
Japan. Subsequent to that decision the Preparatory Secretariat was established
in July 2000 and embarked on preliminary studies. In November of the same year,
a council of related ministries was also established. To make the 3rd World Water
Forum a successful conference with broad participation from relevant water sector
institutions, organizations, academics, experts, NGOs and others, the National
Steering Committee was established in January 2001.
In the Cabinet Meeting on March 6, 2001, the Japanese Cabinet
expressed agreement with the Japanese government's support for the 3rd World Water
Forum and the concurrent Ministerial Conference.
The Cabinet's agreement
was as follows
Related ministries and administrative organizations of
the Japanese government will offer necessary support for the 3rd World Water Forum
to be held primarily in Kyoto and also in the Yodo River Basin - Lake Biwa area,
including Shiga and Osaka, from March 16 to March 23, 2003. The Forum is sponsored
by the World Water Council and the National Steering Committee of the 3rd World
Water Forum. In addition, the Japanese government will host a Ministerial Conference
concurrent with the Forum. Related administrative organizations will offer necessary
support for organizing the Ministerial Conference.
His Imperial Highness the Crown Prince of Japan agreed to be the Honorary President
of the 3rd World Water Forum on May 16, 2001. His Imperial Highness's term of
office will be from May 17, 2001 until the closing of the Forum on March 23, 2003.
The United Nations has designated 2003, the year of the 3rd World Water Forum,
as International Fresh Water Year. The UN's water related organs are now carrying
out the 'World Water Assessment Programme' with UNESCO as the administrative head.
The results of this project will be included in the first issue of the 'World
Water Development Report,' which will be presented at the 3rd World Water Forum.
The 3rd World Water Forum...
A Forum with a Difference
3rd World Water Forum will not be a platform for presenting technical papers,
defining theoretical concepts, or discussing research design. Instead, the Forum
will invite participants to share their experience with proven ACTIONS and best
practices-supported by sound research, science, and theory-that have facilitated
sustainable solutions to water problems. A priority will be to promote dialogue
and interaction among the numerous stakeholders in integrating the knowledge and
experience gained thus far, appealing to the world through potential solutions
and providing information crucial to making a commitment to sustain those actions
be challenged not simply to define problems but to absorb the rich information
presented at the Forum and draw on synergies in articulating sustainable solutions.
The strategy is to define solutions in terms of good policies entailing comprehensive
actions and to separate the success stories from the failures with credible data
to support the findings. The enthusiasm and momentum generated in the past few
years will culminate in "Water Voices" that will exclaim not "what
needs to be done" but rather "WHO needs to do WHAT, HOW, and WHEN?"
Developing tools for actions
Many tools were developed
to maintain the momentum from the 2nd World Water Forum during the long wait for
Kyoto. These tools have provided many opportunities for stimulating discussions
and initiating active dialogue. The tools (such as the "Virtual Water Forum")
have made it possible to bring people together from all over the world on to a
virtual platform to share their interests and concerns about common water issues-technology
helping to break barriers of time and distance-making the impossible virtually
possible! Another tool, the "Water Voices" Project, "by the People....for
the People," has given voice to often neglected-and most often afflicted
by the water crisis-grass-root groups, channeling their voices to the Forum. And
so now it is time, on behalf of all these people, to convey their messages to
the world for action and commitment at the highest level.
water everybody's business
Whether a researcher, manager, administrator,
policymaker, service provider, financier, or consumer, "water is everybody's
business." Everyone has equal responsibility for mitigating the water crisis
and contributing to solutions. Whether the problem is groundwater depletion, weak
governance, low productivity of water in agriculture, or climate variability,
whether it is regional or thematic, it concerns the same scarce resource, water.
What really matters is that billions of people are still deprived of the basic
right of access to a continuous supply of fresh water. Something needs to be done
NOW. If water is everybody's business, then making a commitment during the Forum
and pledging to fulfill it is also everyone's business.
The challenge to all Forum participants will be to collectively
define "commitment"-a commitment to a unanimously agreed plan of actions.
To agree on a plan with short-term, time-bound targets and long-term goals. To
define a conducive environment for implementing the plan, with an effective monitoring
and evaluation system with tested and proven indicators. The milestones enroute
to Kyoto-Rio (Millennium Declaration), Dublin (Dublin Principles), Marrakech (the
mandate to prepare a "Vision"), The Hague (the "Vision," the
"Framework for Actions," and "The Seven Challenges"), Bonn
("The Bonn Keys"), and Johannesburg ("Political Declaration")-have
provided ample rhetoric and motivation. Now it's time to act.
from rethoric to action
We have heard both sides of the story on many
issues. The appeal for more reliable data before actions can be taken, and the
claim that action is a prerequisite for reliable data. In some regions people
clamor for funds to initiate projects, while in others they complain that the
funds are available but not the good projects to spend them on. Some argue that
water is an economic good for which everyone, even the poor, should pay, while
others assert that even though there is a willingness to pay there is no willingness
to charge. The time for rhetoric is over. Whether it be the green to blue revolution
or green to blue water, all the issues have been hypothesized, researched, discussed,
and deliberated. Over the decades all the elements for sustaining development
in the water sector-technology, community involvement, capacity building, private
sector, institutional arrangements partnerships, and financing-have been modeled
not only individually but in combination. And we even have documented examples
of actions that prove these theories right. So, all elements in the big picture
seem to have been adequately addressed. Yet despite all this knowledge, something
still seems to be missing in the equation. Is it "commitment" or something
else? The Forum will strive to identify this missing element.
Many who have carried the "Kyoto Torch" during its
long and arduous journey will finally be able to light the flame. During the eight
days of the Forum the flame will remind all of us of the demand for water to quench
our thirst-a thirst for sustainable solutions to the water crisis. ALL of us must
return from the Forum personally committed to doing our part to mitigate today's
crisis to ensure water security for the world tomorrow. If we could ALL vouch
for this, then this will truly be a "Forum with a Difference."