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Every three years the World Water Council organizes a World Water Forum in close collaboration with the authorities of the host country. The World Water Forum is the largest international event in the field of water—over 30,000 participants from more than 190 countries attended the last edition.
World Water Forum aims to:
|Location||Year||Approximate Total Number of Attendees
(including Fair and Expo)
|Marseille, France||2012||"Solutions for Water"|
|Istanbul, Turkey||2009||over 30,000||"Bridging Divides for Water"|
|Mexico City, Mexico||2006||27,500||"Local Actions for a Global Challenge"|
|Kyoto, Japan||2003||250,000||"A Forum with a Difference"|
|The Hague, The Netherlands||2000||39,100||"From Vision to Action"|
|Marrakech, Morocco||1997||500||"Vision for Water, Life and the Environment"|
The Forum is made up of four primary components:
Each of these components benefits from extensive preparatory processes that commence two years prior to the World Water Forum.
Past editions have included other features, such as side events, a Learning Centre, a Children’s Forum, a Youth Forum, a Children’s Education Village, Water and Film Encounters and cultural entertainment.
5th World Water Forum
Over 30,000 participants from 182 countries took part in the 5th World Water Forum, from 16 to 22 March 2009 in Istanbul, Turkey. More than 400 organisations prepared together over 100 sessions organised according to 6 themes, 7 regional reports and 5 high-level panels.
For the first time in the World Water Forum’s history, a Heads of State meeting was organized. In addition, the Ministerial Statement and Water Guide were developed through a series of four preparatory meetings of government officials, in which Thematic and Regional Coordinators and representatives of Major Groups participated. Further exchanges with stakeholder representatives were organized through ministerial roundtable discussions during the 5th World Water Forum.
Local and Regional Authorities in attendance produced the Istanbul Water Consensus (IWC), a new compact for Local and Regional Authorities willing to commit to adapting their water infrastructure and services to the emerging challenges they are facing. It was also the first time that over 250 Parliamentarians from around the world jointly started to address water issues.
In addition to the session programme, a number of high-level panels were organized on issues such as water-related disasters, sanitation, the water-food-energy nexus and financing. Following the 5th World Water Forum, the panel on water and climate change continued its efforts to bring forth its recommendations to the UNFCCC process and CoP-15 discussions held in Copenhagen in December 2009.
For more detailed information on the 5th World Water Forum, a collection of the official outcomes and statements of the 5th World Water Forum can be found in the Global Water Framework. This compilation presents all the major official documents of the Forum: Heads of State Appeal; Ministerial Statement; Istanbul Water Guide; Ministerial Roundtable reports; Parliamentarians for Water; Istanbul Water Consensus; Compilation of Thematic commitments; Regional outputs; Children’s Declaration; and Youth Declaration.
Another publication, Water at a Crossroads contains a cross-cutting analysis of the key decisions and major themes addressed at the Forum, including climate change; disasters; water, food and energy; MDGs; finance; public/private management; governance; transboundary issues; the right to water; and data availability.
4th World Water Forum
During the 4th World Water Forum in 2006 in Mexico City, close to 20,000 people from throughout the world participated in 206 working sessions, where a total of 1600 local actions were presented. Participants included official representatives and delegates from 140 countries including 120 mayors and 150 legislators, and 78 Ministers. Nearly 1400 journalists were present.
Noteworthy events included:
3rd World Water Forum
The 3rd World Water Forum, held in Kyoto, Shiga and Osaka, Japan in March 2003, assembled a huge number and variety of stakeholders as compared to previous editions of the Forum. In addition, the debate was furthered within the context of the new commitments of meeting the goals set forth at the Millennium Summit of the United Nations in New York (2000), the International Freshwater Conference in Bonn (2001) and the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg (2002).
The 3rd World Water Forum offered 351 sessions under 38 themes. In addition, the "World Panel on Financing Water Infrastructure", chaired by Michel Camdessus, presented its conclusions on what should be done to find adequate financing for water infrastructure and offered specific proposals on how this can be achieved, and by whom.
New concepts were introduced such as a Virtual Water Forum, which consisted of about 166 interactive sessions available through Internet, and the Water Voices Project, where 27,000 opinions of ordinary citizens were collected from 142 countries. The World Water Actions report inventoried over 3,000 local water actions.
2nd World Water Forum
The 2nd World Water Forum in The Hague in 2000 generated much debate on the World Water Vision and the associated Framework for Action, dealing with the state and ownership of water resources, their development potential, management and financing models, and their impact on poverty, social, cultural and economic development and the environment. The Ministerial Declaration identified the following key challenges: meeting basic water needs, securing food supply, protecting ecosystems, sharing water resources, managing risks, valuing water and governing water wisely.
1st World Water Forum
The inaugural edition of the World Water Forum, just following the creation of the World Water Council, took place in Marrakech, Morocco, on 21–23 March 1997. It laid the basis for the development of a long-term “Vision for Water, Life and the Environment in the 21st Century.” Sessions included:
Two water-related Prizes have been awarded during successive World Water Fora: The King Hassan II Great World Water Prize and the Kyoto World Water Grand Prize. Two additional prizes were awarded during the 5th World Water Forum in Istanbul: the Turkish Republic Prime Minister's Water Prize and the Compromiso México Water Prize.
King Hassan II Great World Water Prize: With the main theme of "Cooperation and solidarity in the fields of management and development in water resources", this prize (US$ 100,000) is awarded to an institution, organization, individual or group of individuals in honor of their outstanding lifetime achievements in any aspects of water resources.
Kyoto World Water Grand Prize: Subtitled “Contributing to the Millennium Development Goals through Grassroots Initiatives”, this prize showcases grassroots initiatives that aim to improve the water-related situation of local communities around the world. Thirty selected candidates were invited to the 5th World Water Forum to present their activities and compete for the Prize money of 3 million JPY (around 28,000 USD), to be used to fund the continuation of their activities.
Turkish Republic Prime Minister's Water Prize: For journalistic excellence in the coverage of issues related to the theme of the 5th World Water Forum, “Bridging Divides for Water,” two awards of €20,000 each were given, one for a Turkish journalist and another for a non-Turkish journalist.
Compromiso México Water Prize: This Prize aims to highlight water supply and sanitation policies implemented by local governments that have made a real difference to the social, economic and environmental wellbeing of their constituencies. Three prizes were awarded, of US$15,000, $10,000 and $5,000.