100 New Goals Set at World Water Forum

More than 100 new commitments on water were made by participants of the eight-day 3rd World Water Forum, which concluded Sunday in Japan.

The Forum was held in the three neighboring Japanese cities of Kyoto, Shiga and Osaka March 16 - 23, holding 351 separate sessions on 38 interlocking themes dealing with water, especially on how to bring safe water and sanitation to the entire world.

Some 24,000 participants from 182 countries, more than triple the number of participants expected, attended the sessions. The key issues they addressed revolved around balancing increasing human requirements for adequate water supplies and improved health and sanitation with food production, transportation, energy and environmental needs, while most countries will require more effective governance, improved capacity and adequate financing.

"The 3rd World Water Forum has become a truly 'action-oriented' conference," said Kenzo Hiroki, vice secretary general of the 3rd World Water Forum.

"I have talked with hundreds of participants in sessions and in the corridors," said William J. Cosgrove, vice president of the World Water Council, one of the main conveners of the World Water Forums, held every three years in a different host country. "Without exception, they reported that they consider that the Forum exceeded their expectations. It was a unique opportunity to form partnerships, join networks and learn from the experience of others."

They agreed that the "community level public participation is fundamental to achieving these goals," and that the "common basic requirement for water is an opportunity for cooperation and peace."

The Organizing Committee issued a preliminary eight-page Forum Statement, in which the committee agreed they will be "solemnly committed to facing the global water challenges and to meeting the goals set forth at the Millennium Summit of the United Nations in New York (2000)" – cutting in half the proportion of poor people without secure access to water and sanitation by 2015.

"This statement is only preliminary," said Cosgrove.

It has been posted on the Forum's website (www.world.water-forum3.com) for review. If any group feels its statement has not been included, or have changes to suggest, they may send comments to the Secretariat until April 30, to be reflected in the final statement.

Of the more than 100 commitments reached during the Forum, the climate theme accounted for more than 20 commitments, and gender issues produced 13 commitments.

BBC News

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