30 April 2015

We are getting on with the job... eventually?

I received a final communique from the World Water Forum that ended last week. It sounded awfully familiar, so I looked back in time a bit...

7th World Water Forum ("Water for our Future"), Daegu 2015
The world's largest water meeting, the Seventh World Water Forum, concluded with a fresh commitment to action towards four overarching goals: water security for all; water for development and prosperity; water for sustainability; and constructing feasible implementation mechanisms... The Government of the Republic of Korea presented an “action roadmap” and monitoring system as key deliverables of the Forum, which can be used as guidelines for addressing water issues... Benedito Braga, President of the World Water Council, said that pledges made during the Forum will be conveyed to the ongoing negotiations of SDGs in New York, the US, and emphasized that the Forum had sent a clear signal to the world that, “We know what needs to be done and we are getting on with the job.”

6th World Water Forum (“Time for Solutions”), Marseille 2012 [pdf]
“Time for Solutions” was not just a vain slogan. On the contrary, the 6th World Water Forum kept all its promises by placing solutions and commitments in favour of water and sanitation at the heart of its mission, and by making action its reason to be. The website www.solutionsforwater.org, put in place to gather concrete responses to water and sanitation issues, boasts more than 1,400 solutions spread across the planet and coming from all sorts of stakeholders. Since its launch, the site has recorded more than 60,000 visitors from 189 countries. With over 1,600 active members, it will remain open well after the Forum [there are no comments after 2012], as the World Water Council is committed to continue its development and to monitor the commitments made during the 6th World Water Forum.

5th World Water Forum (“Bridging Divides for Water”), Istanbul 2009
On the road towards the 5th World Water Forum, the international water community worked together according to a precept of “Bridging Divides for Water.” Those who actively participated in its preparation and in the event, itself, soon realized, however, that there is more that unites us than divides us, above all, our fervor to provide water to those most in need. In Istanbul, we improved our common understanding of many issues by accepting to discuss “other” points of views. We planned new ways forward to ensure that, together, progress can continue to be made. In some cases, the bridges that were built may still be fragile, in need of reinforcement, but important connections were established.

4th World Water Forum (“Local Actions for a Global Challenge”), Mexico City 2006 [pdf]
The 4th World Water Forum undoubtedly provided several opportunities to develop a shared understanding of the many issues that make water so important to our life, to initiate new partnerships between the many organizations that make up the so-called “water community” and to pave the way for the strengthening of local actors and local actions... Several recommendations were made, but it is mainly through the reflections triggered by the debate and through the many partnerships that were initiated, that future action will be influenced.[snip] The World Water Forum is not and should not be a conference or an end in itself. It must be a triennial process through which the water community interacts with the rest of the world, the week of the Forum being simply a pause in the water management improvement processes. Between two World Water Fora, action has to take place, and follow-up on the various recommendations and commitments made needs to be carried out. Monitoring of this follow-up will be organized in the coming years in order to report at the 5th World Water Forum on the results, achievements and corrective actions to be taken.

The 8th World Water Forum will be in Brazil in 2018. I'm guessing that we will hear of everyone's commitment to dialogue and interaction. I'm hoping that they will have restored water service in Sao Paulo as well.

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