Report of main proceedings for 22 March 2003

3rd World Water Forum

Delegates to the Ministerial Conference met in an opening plenary on Saturday morning. In the afternoon, delegates convened in sub-groups to discuss: safe drinking water and sanitation; water for food and rural development; water pollution prevention and ecosystem conservation; disaster mitigation and risk management; and water resources management and benefit sharing. Participants to the 3rd World Water Forum met to discuss the World Water Assessment Programme.


OPENING PLENARY: Opening the Ministerial Conference, Chair Chikage Oogi, Japanese Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, identified population growth as one of the most serious challenges in securing water and food supplies. On behalf of the UN Secretary-General, Klaus Tpfer, UNEP Executive Director, said that lack of water and sanitation is a social, environmental, economic and political crisis requiring the highest prioritization. Noting that 2003 is the the International Year of Freshwater, he called for a move "from promise to practice, from commitment to concrete projects, and from intent to implementation," and declared World Water Day open.

Wang Shucheng, Chinese Minister of Water Resources, described Chinas water resource challenges, highlighted its integrated water management practices, and described several disaster mitigation and optimum allocation projects. Regarding international cooperation, he proposed, inter alia, that water solutions be integrated with social and economic policies and that international water rules respect national sovereignty and self-determination.

Roseline Bachelot-Narquin, French Minister of Ecology and Sustainable Development, said that water solutions should combine local culture and traditional knowledge with modern technology. She stressed the importance of good governance in water management, and noted the roles played by the private sector in maintaining infrastructure and by river basin organizations in transboundary cooperation. Underscoring the need for financial and human resources, she suggested that multilateral banks consider recommendations of the GWP and WWC World Panel on Financing Water Infrastructure (WPFWI) Report and stressed the importance of capacity building.

Koichiro Matsuura, UNESCO Director-General, recommended that the World Water Assessment Programme be recognized as the principle UN outfit for freshwater monitoring and assessment. Ryutaro Hashimoto, Chair of the National Steering Committee of the Forum, stressed the need for the Ministerial Declaration to address the reconstruction of water infrastructure in Iraq and the water and sanitation needs of internally displaced people impacted by the military action. Mahmoud Abu-Zeid, WWC President, described the World Water Actions report as a database of water actions and a compendium of lessons learned. Noting that the war on Iraq undermines international law and democracy, Mikhail Gorbachev, Green Cross International President, stressed the importance of the Forums work in ensuring water for peace. He highlighted the need for political will to develop and implement specific mechanisms for achieving the MDGs, and called for enshrinement of the right to water in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Hilda Grace Coelho, President of the Center for Rural Studies and Development, presented the outcomes of the NGO panel debate, asserting that water is a public good, and that access to safe and affordable water is a human right, which should be recognized in the Ministerial Declaration. Michel Camdessus, WPFWI Chair, said that the international community must find an additional US$100 billion per year in order to meet the MDGs on water and sanitation.

Chair Oogi presented the Portfolio of Water Actions, a collection of over 400 voluntary actions submitted by governments. She expressed the hope that this resource will create new partnerships.

SUB-GROUP MEETINGS: The sub-group meetings met once in sessions open to Forum participants, and twice in the afternoon in sessions open to Ministers and Heads of organizations. Outcomes will be presented at the plenary meeting of the Ministerial Conference on Sunday, 23 March.

Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation: Ronnie Kasrils, South African Minister of Water Affairs and Forestry, chaired this meeting. Hans Christian Schmidt, Danish Minister of the Environment, presented on the EU Water Initiative, and Maria Mutagamba, Ugandan Minister of State for Water, reported on progress of the African Water Facility.

Outlining recommendations from the Water Supply, Sanitation, Health and Pollution Prevention theme, Richard Jolly, WSSCC, stressed the need for public education on the threats from human excrement and said the MDGs are not sufficiently ambitious. On Water, Life and Medical Care, Kati Myllymaki, World Medical Association, stated that technology cannot solve medical problems without healthy environments. Reporting on the Public Private Partnerships (PPP) Panel, Wenonah Hauter, Public Citizen, called for the recognition of water as a human right and consideration of trade issues in the Ministerial Declaration. She suggested a redirection of military spending, debt cancellation and public-public partnerships to ensure water security.

Reporting on the Union Panel, David Boys, Public Service International, stressed that market-based solutions for water supply are inappropriate, urged the removal of water from trade agreements, and emphasized the role of municipalities and public-public partnerships in water delivery. Reporting on the CEO Panel, Gerard Payen, Suez, highlighted the success of PPPs in delivering water to millions of poor. Michael Rouse, IWA, outlined recommendations from the Science, Technology and Management Panel, highlighting the need for national water strategy plans and targets, and urging research and development in dry sanitation projects and in agricultural water use efficiency.

Discussions were guided by a series of questions concerning obstacles to the provision of water and sanitation, types of PPPs and technologies that should be developed, and means of strengthening governance.

Several developing countries, including Ghana, Guinea, Chad, Malawi and Mauritania, identified a lack of capacity and financial resources as the main obstacles to achieving supply and sanitation goals. Cuba highlighted successes in partnering with NGOs and UN agencies. Mauritania suggested that donors help develop the private sector in developing countries. Japan, the UK and others stressed the key role of appropriate low-cost technologies. UNICEF urged focusing on low-cost hygiene campaigns and ensuring household-level water security.

On financing, the EC noted that ODA alone cannot achieve the MDGs. The WSSCC suggested augmenting the proportion of financing allocated to small-scale, low-cost initiatives, and the US highlighted that local communities can use revolving funds to mobilize private capital. The US also discussed the use of market-based approaches to treat water at the household level, stressing that social marketing and education are key to success. Uganda and Kenya noted the prioritization of water in their national strategies, and the World Bank emphasized the need to consider water issues in Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers.

The UN Population Fund urged consideration of demographic dynamics and underscored the need for policies ensuring womens health and reproductive choice. Several delegates, including the International Development Research Centre, stated that water is not a commodity, but a human right. Germany and the World Bank raised concerns that marginal communities have no collective purchasing power and that the poor often pay 10 times more for water bought from individual vendors.

Regarding monitoring, WSSCC underscored the role of schoolchildren. France suggested the creation of a monitoring institution, and Japan highlighted the importance of education on the water cycle. The EC stressed the need for a good knowledge base and water conservation measures. Sweden emphasized the need for national action plans and targets, and a greater focus on gender.

Regarding PPPs, the EC stressed the importance of confidence building. The UK underscored the importance of flexible financing options. Denmark suggested that developing countries define partnership frameworks and highlighted the role of NGOs in capacity building. The World Bank said the debate should not focus on who should provide water services, but rather who can. Kenya noted problems of mismanagement and corruption, highlighting its zero-tolerance policy towards corruption.

In closing, Chair Kasrils presented his wrap-up report, which, inter alia: emphasized the need to address the unserved; considered financing, governance and partnerships issues; stressed development of national plans; suggested combining hardware and software solutions; and urged better coordination in monitoring and reporting.

Water for Food and Rural Development: This meeting was chaired by Ian Johnson, World Bank. Naoto Kitamura, Japans Vice-Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, reported that the Ministerial meeting on water for food and agriculture identified several solutions for addressing the impacts of water-intensive agriculture, including increasing agricultural water use efficiency and improving water use governance.

Louise Fresco, FAO, noted the need to eradicate malnutrition, respond to changing food demands, and manage natural resources sustainably. John Brisco, World Bank, said solutions to addressing water scarcity in the agriculture sector, include eliminating agricultural subsidies, improving irrigation-system management, and investing in watershed management projects.

Guy Rogers, Water Media Network, said the Journalist Panels report recommends, inter alia, that governments introduce legislation ensuring transparent decision-making and build capacity of information centers to ensure information accessibility. Prabha Khoshla, Gender and Water Alliance, presented the Gender and Water Panels report, which calls for, inter alia, gender-responsive water management activities, an inter-ministerial dialogue on gender and water, and greater representation of women in the water sector.

Several countries, including Afghanistan, Cape Verde, Swaziland and Tunisia, outlined challenges in, and national strategies on, providing water for food production and rural development. Mali, the Netherlands, Tanzania and others addressed the lack of financial resources for effective water management in developing countries. Lao Peoples Democratic Republic called for coordination of donor aid activities. Many countries noted rain-fed irrigation and the role of water management in poverty eradication.

Austria stressed the need for holistic water management approaches and, with Turkey, emphasized the need for fair water pricing. Mali underscored the importance of information availability and expressed regret that discussions had not considered existing decisions, including those agreed under the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (CCD). A representative from the CCD Secretariat questioned how poverty reduction and sustainable food production can be achieved if other sectors are given priority in the allocation of resources. Bhutan stressed the importance of water-efficient crops and the cost effectiveness of multisectoral water use. Sri Lanka, with Bhutan, expressed the need to devolve decision-making responsibilities to local communities. Morocco recommended a holistic approach to water resource management, poverty reduction, responding to famines, and rural development. The Gambia, with Swaziland, noted the effects of climate change on water resources, and stressed, with Turkey and Tunisia, the need for efficient agricultural technologies. Switzerland emphasized identifying priorities for action, and Myanmar suggested that the World Bank and FAO incorporate recommendations from the Forum into their work. On the Ministerial Declaration, the Dominican Republic proposed a reference to the link between unsustainable agricultural practices and water scarcity, and the Netherlands suggested reference to the effect of HIV/ AIDS on agricultural production.

Delegates decided on issues to be highlighted at the Forums closing plenary, including the need to increase awareness-raising, improve water quality, promote regional cooperation for food security and sustainable water use, acknowledge the linkages between water and environment, and increase effectiveness of existing irrigation technologies. FAO said the Declaration should emphasize that there will be "no solution to the water crisis without considering agriculture, and no solution to the food crisis without considering water."

Water Pollution Prevention and Ecosystems Conservation: Philippe Roch, Swiss State Secretary for the Environment, Forests and Landscape, chaired the sub-group. Shunichi Suzuki, Japanese Environment Minister, outlined efforts in Japan to control industrial pollution and preserve the environment through integrated regulation. Hans van Ginkel, UN University, highlighted the benefits of industrial ecology, where wastes from one production process form inputs to another. Rodoula Zissi, Greek Deputy Minister for Environment, Physical Planning and Public Works, stressed the need to integrate water into all policy sectors and consider socioeconomic conditions in watershed management. Norihito Tambo, International Water Foundation, emphasized the need for technical innovation to facilitate reduced water consumption and provide a foundation for sustainable management. Stephan Foster, GWP Ground Water Management Advisory Team, reminded participants that groundwater represents over 97% of the Earths freshwater resources and that damage to aquifers is often irreversible.

UNEP, Luxembourg and the Philippines called for the economic valuation of ecosystem services. New Zealand identified the need for a valuation toolbox. IUCN highlighted the need to explain to the public how ecosystems provide water for people. Finland and Switzerland remarked on the relationship between climate change and ecosystems. Japan highlighted the significant problem of illegal logging in watersheds. Finland and the Ramsar Convention Bureau supported the ecosystem approach, and Luxembourg stressed the need to ensure that environmental ministries have authority over water resources in order to facilitate application of this approach. The Philippines and the Basel Convention Secretariat advocated using life cycle management in controlling pollution.

New Zealand identified the need to review agricultural practices to reduce non-point pollution and, with Lesotho, emphasized the importance of educating youth. Kazima, Asian Production Organization, and Tunisia stressed the need for more information on ecosystems before developing policies, and emphasized the need for technology transfer and capacity building to facilitate monitoring in developing countries. UNESCO, with UNEP, stressed that humanitys relationship with the environment is embedded in culture, and advocated considering indigenous knowledge in decision-making. Belgium said the indicators used to assess water quality in the World Water Development Report were out-dated, highlighting the need for a committee to devise universally-recognized indicators. UNESCO responded that indicators would be improved for the next report, which will be published in 2006.

Italy and Paraguay emphasized the need for finance, with Paraguay suggesting user fees as a possible source. Slovakia, Benin and Gabon questioned the relevance of the WPFWIs Report for least developed countries, where internal markets are inadequately developed for implementation of proposed mechanisms. Romania remarked on how environmental issues must compete for limited financial resources with other key priorities like health and education.

Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic noted how adopting EU legislation in preparation for accession has prompted domestic developments in environmental protection. Romania identified the need for international pressure to encourage all countries to adopt water quality standards. Canada said that implementing integrated solutions requires multilevel collaborative actions. The GEF stressed the need for action programmes with clear and achievable targets. The UNECE suggested modeling regional agreements on its Protocol on Civil Liability and Compensation for Damage Caused by Industrial Accidents on Transboundary Waters. Azerbaijan identified regional conflict as a challenge to international cooperation, while Yemen said weapons used in war generate acid rain.

Roch summarized discussions with the statement "ecosystems for water, water for people, ecosystems for people," and said an addendum to the Ministerial Declaration would encourage recognition of the value of: ecosystem services; multistakeholder involvement; multilevel basin management; ecosystem monitoring; cultural diversity in managing water; and dissemination of information.

Disaster Mitigation and Risk Management: This sub-group was chaired by H. Soenarno, Indonesian Minister of Settlement and Regional Infrastructure. He remarked that the frequency of floods and droughts around the world has increased, and highlighted the disaster mitigation and risk management components of the WSSDs Plan of Implementation.

Participants then heard reports from sessions on: Water and Climate, Water and Information, and the Youth World Water Forum.

Regarding water and climate, recommendations include: enhancing policies and measures for reducing greenhouse gas emissions; establishing a climate and water programme under the GWP; and enhancing consideration of water issues in the fourth assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. A youth representative expressed disappointment with the slow progress in resolving global water issues, and said that young people can help address some of these given their understanding of both traditional and modern practices.

On water and information, conclusions include that information is critical to all aspects of land and water management, and the achievement of the MDGs. This theme recommended that governments recognize the importance of basing water policy on sound information, and urged donor organizations to share collected data with their development partners to allow this information to be incorporated into national databases. The WMO said disasters roll back progress achieved in developing countries. He said that simply living with floods is not a reasonable strategy.

The Netherlands noted conclusions from the discussion on Floods, including: that disasters and floods are "everyones business"; that innovative "win-win" approaches need to be identified; that floods and climate issues are linked; that the river basin should be the management unit; and that both positive and negative experiences should be shared. China acknowledged that structural solutions are insufficient for addressing floods, and stressed the importance of risk management. He suggested compensation policies for those affected by floods.

Japan, Morocco and Tunisia stressed the importance of information sharing. Many countries, including Tunisia, Russia, Greece and Morocco underscored the link between climate change and the frequency of disasters. Tunisia promoted the use of technology for water storage during rainy periods to prepare for droughts. Morocco urged solidarity between upstream and downstream users, and noted the importance of the Kyoto Protocol to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change for addressing climate change.

The International Strategy for Disaster Reduction pointed to the WSSD outcomes, which urge an integrated and inclusive approach to addressing risks and hazards through prevention, preparedness, response and recovery. He said the impact of natural hazards is affecting development and hindering attainment of the MDGs. The WWC said uncertainties and vulnerabilities have to be addressed simultaneously.

Finland stressed the need for cooperation and coordination between donor organizations, and, with Vietnam, urged regional and sub-regional cooperation. Thailand said local governments and communities must be involved in risk management. The Marshall Islands said developed countries must contribute to disaster mitigation and risk management by reducing their greenhouse gas emissions. Mozambique said poverty reduction can only be achieved through economic development if a risk management strategy is employed. Venezuela stressed the importance of non-structural measures rather than structural measures to prevent disasters. Indonesia said a balance between structural and non-structural measures is necessary.

Chair Soenarno read the Chairs summary of the discussions. Participants drew attention to some omitted issues, and then approved the draft summary by acclamation.

Water Resources Management and Benefit Sharing: Opening the session, Chair Arjun Charan Sethi, Indian Minister of Water Resources, identified water management, sound utilization, and conservation as major challenges. He explained that the session would address the framework of IWRM, benefit sharing practices, dialogue and information sharing, international support, and innovative technologies. Trkil Jonch-Clausen, GWP, presented the recommendations from the IWRM sessions, highlighting the need to utilize mutlistakeholder partnerships, support river and basin-level organizations, and implement the World Lake Vision.

Peter Rae, International Hydropower Association, addressed the outcomes of the water and energy session and highlighted the links between water, sanitation and energy. Several countries presented their country plans for IWRM and transboundary water management, while others emphasized the importance of the WSSDs water and sanitation-related targets, and welcomed the recommendations from the water and energy session. Mexico called for increased benefit sharing between upstream and downstream users, urban and rural centers, and stressed the need for pricing and institutional reform. Iran highlighted the need to redefine water pricing. Norway said access to water is a basic right and stressed the need to apply the principles of access, affordability and sustainability in order to achieve the MDGs.

Kazakhstan noted the development of a framework convention on the Caspian Sea and called for the establishment of a global register of water problems. Turkey stressed the need to build "good and sustainable" dams, and with South Africa, expressed concerns that this issue is omitted from the Ministerial Declaration. Portugal provided an overview of the EU Water Framework Directive and highlighted the link between IWRM and energy in the context of greenhouse gas emissions reductions. Sudan emphasized the role of farmer and water-user associations, and India said peoples participation is crucial to the future of the water sector. Addressing the impacts of climatic variability, South Africa called for the application of the polluter pays principle and highlighted the need for progress reports to be submitted to the Commission on Sustainable Development.

Australia said that water is a social, economic and environmental good and must be addressed at the basin level. Palau and UNESCO emphasized the need for technology transfer and capacity building, and Samoa highlighted the need to address water resources in the context of forest conservation, land use planning, pollution control, and economic development. Botswana emphasized capacity building for conflict resolution in countries that share transboundary water resources, and Russia proposed developing international criteria for sharing these resources. Sierra Leone proposed establishing a task force to assist countries to monitor their progress in meeting the WSSDs water-related goals. Peru stressed water conservation, and Ecuador emphasized the role of indigenous peoples in IWRM, and the need to protect their rights.

In closing, Chair Sethi identified priority issues emerging from the dialogue, including the need for: dams that provide storage, hydropower, and flood control; stakeholder and private sector participation in IWRM; capacity building; technology transfer, effective governance; appropriate water pricing and regulation; legal frameworks that enhance transboundary water management; and increased international cooperation and financial support.


WORLD WATER ASSESSMENT PROGRAMME: Pradeep Aggarwal, UN-Water Campaign, chaired this session, which opened with a choir service performed by Kyoto Junior Childrens Choir. Koichiro Matsuura, UNESCO, launched the World Water Development Report (WWDR), entitled "Water for People, Water for Life," and called on all governments to join the World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP). Gordon Young, WWAP, said that WWAPs mandate is to: identify and describe the nature of water crises; assess the coping capacity of societies and the effectiveness of policies; develop indicators to monitor and report progress in reaching targets; and enhance the capacities of participating countries to perform in-country assessments. He noted that the WWDR reviewed progress on 11 challenges, including to provide water for basic needs and health, enhance food security, promote cleaner industry, develop energy, protect ecosystems, mitigate risk, and govern water resources.

Praising the report, Klaus Tpfer, UNEP, said that finding solutions to water and environment issues is a precondition for resolving the human dimensions of the water crisis. Louise Fresco, FAO, discussed data-related issues, and called for better geo-referencing. Kim Hak-Su, Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, remarked on the challenge of poverty alleviation. Hans van Ginkel, UNU, noted the complexity of water problems and the need for education. Werner Burkart, International Atomic Energy Agency, highlighted the role of the Agency in improving hydrological information and building scientific capacity. Shoji Nishimoto, UNDP, noted that current levels of action and investment are insufficient to achieve the water-related MDGs. Salvano Briceo, International Strategy for Disaster Reduction, said natural disasters disrupt water supply and impede progress in achieving development targets. Richard Jolly, WSSCC, praised the WWDRs coverage of water pricing, governance, health and biodiversity issues.

Young then introduced the WWDRs pilot case studies. Arturo Liebers Baldivieso, Bolivian Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Rural Development, described cooperation between Peru and Bolivia in managing the resources of the Lake Titicaca basin area. Pierre-Alain Roche, Seine-Normandy Water Agency, drew attention to nitrate pollution in the Seine. He noted that although the Seines water quality has improved in recent years, it does not yet comply with European Directives.

Harry Liiv, Estonian Ministry of Environment, drew attention to eutrophication in Lake Peipsi/Chudskoe resulting from untreated wastewater. He noted that water quality in this Estonian and Russian transboundary lake will improve as Estonia harmonizes its water laws with those of the EU. Mohamed Salem Ould Merzoug, Organization for the Development of the Senegal River, discussed water resource management of the Senegal River, which is shared by Mali, Mauritania and Senegal. He highlighted elements of effective cross-border river basin management, including the development of joint action programmes and legal and institutional frameworks. K. Imbulana, Sri Lankan Ministry of Irrigation and Water Management, identified threats to ensuring adequate water supply in the Ruhuna basins, including industrial and agricultural pollution and drought. He highlighted the need for capacity building, better water resource management and the introduction of modern technologies for water resources data collection. Surachai Sasisuwan, Thailands Department of Water Resources, spoke on efforts to introduce a new water law and to unify the fragmented water management system in the Chao Phraya River basin.

Collado Clini, Italian Ministry of Environment, and Margaret Catley-Carlson, GWP, remarked on the challenges of IWRM and praised the WWAP for pointing to the way forward.


MINISTERIAL CONFERNENCE CLOSING PLENARY: The closing plenary will be held at 9:30 am in the Main Hall of the Kyoto International Conference Hall.

3RD WORLD WATER FORUM CLOSING CEREMONY: The closing ceremony will begin at 2:00 pm in the Main Hall.

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