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Call for Commitments

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Dear 6th World Water Forum Community,

Inspired by the ongoing success of the Platform for Solutions and convinced by our collective responsibility to move to concrete action and contribute to real change, the International Forum Committee makes an open invitation to all individuals, organisations, institutions, national and local governments, to submit concrete commitments that address the water challenges of today and tomorrow and that foster genuine follow-up to  the 6th World Water Forum results.

These commitments will be posted on the Forum website, contribute to the “Solutions-to-Commitments” Session on the afternoon of Friday 16 March and formthe establishment of an inclusive and representative body of commitments arising through the 6th World Water Forum process.

 You can submit your commitments on

The Ministerial Declaration of the 6th World Water Forum

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1. We, the Ministers and Heads of Delegations assembled in Marseille, France, on 13 March 2012 at the Ministerial Conference of the 6th World Water Forum, “Time for Solutions”, are determined to address water challenges at all scales. Recognizing the Ministerial Statement and other outcomes of the 5th World Water Forum, held in Istanbul on 16-22 March 2009, and taking account of the contributions of the political, thematic, regional and grassroots and citizenship processes, as well as the inputs collected on the “Platform of Solutions” of the 6th World Water Forum, we therefore express our shared view on the following:

2. Reaffirming Chapter 18 of Agenda 21 (the United Nations Program of Action from Rio at the Earth Summit on 3-14 June 1992) and the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation of the World Summit on Sustainable Development on 2-4 September 2002, water is key to peace and stability and central to provide powerful, multifaceted contributions to the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development “Rio+20” on “a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication” and “the institutional framework for sustainable development”.

Ensure Everyone’s Well-Being: Accelerate Access to Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation, Expand Sanitation and Deliver on Water and Health

3. Reiterating our commitment to fully achieve the Millennium Development Goals, and following the adoption of United Nations resolutions (A/RES/64/292, A/HRC/RES/15/9, A/HRC/RES/16/2 and A/HRC/RES/18/1) related to the recognition of the human right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation, we commit to accelerate the full implementation of the human rights obligations relating to access to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation by all appropriate means as a part of our efforts to overcome the water crisis at all levels.

4. We are therefore determined to achieve access to safe drinking water and sanitation for all with the required availability, quality, acceptability, accessibility and affordability, focusing on the most vulnerable and taking into account non-discrimination and gender equality. To improve the situation of the billions of people without access to safe drinking water and proper sanitation, we intend to focus our efforts on local and national planning and coordination, adequate financing and investment, and robust regulatory, monitoring and accountability frameworks, involving all stakeholders.

5. An integrated approach towards sanitation and wastewater management, including collection, treatment, monitoring and re-use, is essential to optimize the benefits and value of water. We need to advance development and utilization of non-conventional water resources, including safe re-use, turning wastewater into a resource, and desalination as appropriate, to stimulate local economies, and help prevent waterborne diseases and the degradation of ecosystems.

6. We need to intensify our efforts to prevent and reduce of water pollution with a view to accelerating access to sustainable sanitation and improving the quality of water resources and ecosystems. We intend to promote a shared, innovative and integrated vision of urban, rural, industrial and agricultural wastewater management, including context-specific targets for the implementation of our actions, in the framework of national legislations, institutions and enforcement mechanisms supported by regional and international cooperation, including the dissemination of relevant technologies and knowledge sharing.

7. Water and sanitation are essential for health and hygiene and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. We are determined to follow up on the resolution on safe drinking water, sanitation and health, adopted by the World Health Assembly (WHA64.24), to fight water-related diseases. We intend to mainstream safe drinking water and sustainable sanitation, personal, domestic and collective hygiene, water quality protection and monitoring and warning tools in health strategies and programs. Their elaboration and implementation rely on strengthened, integrated and coherent inter-sectoral policy frameworks and cooperation between all authorities and stakeholders.

8. To contribute to health, hygiene and nutrition, solutions include effective institutional frameworks to operate and maintain existing water and sanitation services and to optimize investment in infrastructure. Integrated processes such as water and sanitation safety plans contribute to better water quality and health risk management. Strong support to community ownership, participation, education and empowerment is also needed to change behavior.

Contribute to Economic Development: Green Economy, Water for Food Security and Water and Energy

9. Water has a critical role in all environmental, social and economic systems and should therefore be recognized as such in economic development in conjunction with its social and environmental benefits. In the framework of sustainable development, the contribution of water to policies towards a green economy should be promoted in a manner which leads to achievement of poverty eradication, growth and job creation while preserving ecosystems and tackling climate change.

10. A new approach to water, food and energy based on a better understanding and more systematic recognition of their inter-linkages in decision-making and planning has the potential to improve the production and sustainable management of these scarce resources. A more efficient use and reduced waste can improve access to water, food and energy. We intend to enhance policy coherence, adapt existing institutional arrangements and establish frameworks to maximize benefits and synergies across sectors.

11. Given the increasing global cross-sectoral demands for and multiple uses of water, sustainable development requires integrated water resources management, which offers a set of principles and processes to facilitate decision-making, planning and investment at all levels. As part of the solution, we encourage the competent authorities, including basin authorities, to adopt the most coherent, equitable and sustainable cross-sector frameworks needed to achieve sustainable development.

12. Water is key for agriculture, rural development, food processing and nutrition, as there can be no food security without water. Therefore water and food security policies need to be integrated, ensuring at the same time an efficient use and protection of water resources. To achieve food security for a growing world population, in a context of global climate change, solutions involve tailor-made and innovative approaches to address the diversity of situations worldwide, taking into consideration the availability and quality of water, soil and land, the level of infrastructure development for rain-fed and irrigated agriculture, the exposure to floods and droughts, the sustainable utilization of water resources and the institutional capacity of the stakeholders concerned.

13. We intend to ensure that water and food security policies meet the needs of the most vulnerable, in particular local communities, smallholder farmers, women and indigenous peoples. Soil and water management needs be promoted to minimize erosion, land degradation and water pollution, with a view to increasing total food supply-chain efficiency “from field to fork”. Solutions include water saving and storage technologies and practices in rain-fed and irrigated areas, reduction of water and food losses and waste, safe re-use of wastewater in agriculture and industry, intensification of the cultivation of traditional and new water-stress tolerant plant varieties and the involvement of food security stakeholders, especially producer organizations, in water policies. The commitment of the G20, D8 and other relevant entities to address water and food security is welcome.

14. Water and energy are increasingly interdependent, as water is one of the major inputs to energy production, technology and industrial processes and energy is needed to produce and distribute water and manage wastewater. We need to address water and energy policies coherently and in harmony with natural water cycles to foster the sustainable and efficient use of water and energy to satisfy access to both for all while favouring growth opportunities and poverty eradication. In this perspective, multi-stakeholder platforms will help harmonize water and energy policies, through multi-sectoral processes in the framework of national sustainable development policies.

15. Accounting for water use in energy production and for energy use in the water and sanitation sector can improve water and energy efficiency. Improved energy efficiency in water and sanitation services, especially for desalinization, and improved water efficiency in agricultural and industrial water use, can contribute to greenhouse gas reduction. We intend to support the Sustainable Energy for All initiative, acknowledge hydro-power, consistent with sustainable development principles, as a viable renewable source of energy for many urban and rural areas and promote the production of “more energy per drop”. Investment in sustainable multi-purpose water storage, the utilization of wastewater as a source of renewable energy as well as the use of renewable energy, such as solar and wind, in water supply and sanitation, need to be promoted.

Keep the Planet Blue: Water in the Rio Conventions, Water-Related Disasters and Water and Urban Development

16. Due to its cross-cutting nature, we need to ensure that water is an integral part of strategies and programmes pertaining to climate change, biodiversity and desertification, leveraging synergies among the 3 Rio Conventions as well as the Ramsar Convention on wetlands, reiterating our commitment made to water. A similar focus on water with respect to other relevant international instruments and fora, related to forests, waste and chemical management, will enable coordinated solutions, especially in terms of knowledge and experience sharing, long-term forecasting and planning, strategic financing and investment and research and policy interactions.

17. We need to build resilience to climate change and variability including through a more flexible and integrated land and water resources management system, by adopting strategies on both adaptation and mitigation, improving water use efficiency, regulation and storage, inland navigation, ecosystem services, wetland, forest and mountain ecosystems restoration and conservation as well as agricultural practices. Solutions to adapt to climate change also include tapping into traditional knowledge and operation, better water demand management, preventive measures and insurance schemes.

18. We recognize that water-related biodiversity and ecosystem services are an integral part of water management infrastructure, as they provide substantive economic, social and environmental returns on investment at all levels. We intend to take actions for the valuation of costs and benefits associated with the protection and sustainable use of water-related ecosystems in all projects. We also intend to encourage investment in water resources as natural capital through appropriate incentives and policies.

19. Due to the increasing adverse impacts of water-related disasters, such as floods and droughts, including man-made disasters, we intend to develop and strengthen national and transboundary disaster prevention and response strategies. Solutions encompass integrated risk management, preparedness, emergency, relief, recovery and rehabilitation plans, which fully take into account water and sanitation, ecosystems protection and restoration, sustainable integrated flood and drought management and infrastructure construction and operation. We recognize the urgent need for multi-stakeholder platforms, preferably at the basin level, for the implementation of joint strategies and the coordination of prevention and response in emergency situations.

20. We need to take into full consideration the central role of water and sanitation requirements in humanitarian and emergency crises in implementing the Humanitarian Reform Principles. Improved coordination on water and sanitation will help develop adequate strategies for a transition from emergency, reconstruction and development towards sustainable access to safe drinking water and sanitation.

21. Cities generate opportunities in terms of improved public health, job creation and more efficient use of resources, but pose major challenges for water and sanitation, due to the increasing demand for water and the correlated growing generation of wastewater, storm water and water pollutants, particularly for groundwater, exacerbated by the adverse impacts of climate change. We intend to promote solutions such as improved urban infrastructure and spatial planning processes at the appropriate level and integrated policies among different authorities, taking into account interactions between cities and their rural surroundings. Local and regional authorities are at the front line of such integrated policies and we welcome their participation in and implementation of the “Istanbul Water Consensus” launched at the 5th World Water Forum.

22. Sharing of good practices and lessons learnt, as well as decentralized cooperation, can also help scale up successful experiences and expand public and private partnerships with civil society and economic actors to optimize funding of operation and maintenance of infrastructure and social services, including the development of equitable and sustainable access to safe drinking water and sanitation services for all. Ensuring a sustainable urban development will hence contribute to improve the living conditions and revenues of urban citizens and peri-urban dwellers.

Conditions of Success: Governance, Cooperation, Financing and Enabling Environment for Water

23. Good water governance requires multi-stakeholder platforms and legal and institutional frameworks enabling the participation of all, including indigenous peoples, marginalized and other vulnerable groups, promoting gender equality, democracy and integrity. Given the particular role of local and regional authorities, in the principle of subsidiarity, we recognize the need to strengthen their capacity to fulfil their responsibilities, as appropriate. Timely and adequate information is crucial to enable all stakeholders to make informed choices and actively participate in the design, implementation and assessment of water and sanitation policies. We need tools and indicators to strengthen water policy monitoring, evaluation and accountability. The development of water information systems will facilitate sharing data and developing scenarios to cope with water challenges.

24. In line with the Principles of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, and taking advantage of the 2013 International Year of Water Cooperation, we are committed to enhance cooperation across and beyond water, taking into account the interests of all riparian States concerned, to foster peace and stability. We appreciate cooperative efforts in the field of transboundary waters. We intend to further promote and encourage coordinated, equitable, reasonable and optimal water utilization in transboundary basins, with a view to deepening mutual trust among riparian countries and achieve sound cooperation. Several of the principles of the relevant international Conventions on water can be useful in this regard.

25. Investment in water provides large returns in economic, social and environmental terms and significantly contributes to sustainable development and poverty eradication, in rural as in urban areas, in the agricultural as in the industrial sector. The importance of prioritizing investment in water and sanitation was underlined in all the regional processes leading to the 6th World Water Forum, in particular to drastically reduce poverty, to explicitly consider equity and poverty alleviation measures, to step up investment to achieve the Millennium Development Goals water and sanitation target and to develop international cooperation in water.

26. Prioritization of water and sanitation in budget allocations and in international cooperation is key as well as effective use of financial instruments. We will promote strategic and sustainable financial planning, through an appropriate mix of contributions from water users, public budgets, private finance, bilateral and multilateral channels. We recognize the need for sustainable and efficient cost recovery, pro-poor and innovative financing mechanisms, such as appropriate payment for ecosystem services, and private investment, in a spirit of solidarity, justice and equity. Contributions on water services provided by local and regional authorities to implement their water-related development cooperation programmes offer an example of innovative financing mechanisms.

27. To build, implement and monitor sound water policies, accurate information and agreed upon evidence rooted in robust scientific knowledge are needed. Taking into account initiatives and reports such as the UN-Water Global Analysis and Assessment of Sanitation and Drinking Water (GLAAS), we expect to foster inclusive partnerships between scientists, policy makers, service providers and other stakeholders, to meet the policy needs and facilitate the science-policy interface, through the provision of state of the art technical tools and methods, the involvement of partners in the formulation of research questions to boost innovation and the dissemination of knowledge and the transfer of technology. Improved coordination on water-related issues within the global system is needed to strengthen and streamline its capacity to provide targeted support to countries.

28. Capacity development, based on partnerships between public authorities, international and non-governmental organizations, utilities, private institutions and communities, is required to face the multiple challenges associated with emerging issues. In this context, we intend to support a helpdesk mechanism to enable exchange of best practices on water laws, regulations, standards and budgets, among and in support of Parliaments. We plan to develop training solutions for different categories of water professionals adapted to the labor market and attractive to the youth, through centers of excellence, associations of water professionals, water operators’ partnerships, water training center networking and twinning. We intend to pay particular attention to awareness and water education for responsible citizens, women and the youth, in order to empower them.

29. Bearing in mind the primary responsibilities of the governments concerned, the specific needs of developing countries, and the least developed among them, require special focus in terms of adequate, predictable and sustainable financial resources, capacity building and technology transfer to achieve internationally agreed goals, especially on integrated water resources management and access to safe drinking water and sanitation.

30. We, the Ministers and Heads of Delegations, welcome the results of the 6th World Water Forum, “Time for Solutions”, held in Marseille on 12-17 March 2012, and agree that they must be widely disseminated in relevant fora, including the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development “Rio+20”, focusing on the following priorities:

  • The acceleration of the implementation of human right obligations relating to access to safe drinking water and sanitation for everyone’s well-being and health, in particular for the most vulnerable, and improving wastewater management;
  • The interlinkages between water, energy and food security, ensuring full policy coherence and well-functioning water-related ecosystems, with a view to exploiting synergies and avoiding adverse consequences across sectors, as a basis for sustainable growth and job creation;
  • The incorporation of water in all its economic, social and environmental dimensions in a framework of governance, financing and cooperation, taking into account the progress achieved towards the Millennium Development Goals by 2015 and beyond.

31. We further share the view on the following:

  • The High Level Roundtables held during the Ministerial Conference offer opportunities to identify solutions and commitments to better deliver on water issues;
  • Partnerships undertaken with Parliaments, as well as with local and regional authorities, who play a pivotal political and operational role on these issues, should continue, as appropriate, in connection with the thematic, regional and grassroots and citizenship processes of the 6th World Water Forum;
  • Our water solutions and commitments should, as appropriate, be consolidated and disseminated and their implementation monitored and evaluated, by the competent authorities, so as to benefit the next World Water Fora; and

32. We thank the Government of France, the City of Marseille and the World Water Council for their organization of the Ministerial Conference.

Download the Ministerial Declaration

“Water deserves new thinking and concrete action”

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Prof. Benedito Braga, President of the International Forum Committee, at the Opening Ceremony 12 March © 6th World Water Forum / Christophe Taamourte

Speech of Pr. Benedito BRAGA

President ofthe International Committee of the Forum


The Honorable French Prime Minister of France,

Your Highnesses,

Heads of Government,

Ministers and managers of international organizations,


Parliamentarians and Mayors

To all of you my dear friends of the Global Water Community

It is for me a great honor and a pleasure to welcome you to the 6th edition of the World Water Forum in this magnificent and historic city of Marseille. The organization of this Forum was done in such a meticulous way, that even the weather was specially prepared for you.

There are a great number of conferences and seminars dealing with water all over the world. But the World Water Forum is not a week where people come just to deliver their own messages. This Forum is a process. Valuable as much for its preparation as for its holding.

The preparatory process of the 6th Forum through its four commissions: thematic, regional, political and grassroots and citizenship gathered more than 600 institutions , 160 working groups and more than 2 000 professionals that diligently for the last two years worked to produce more than 300 technical sessions, high level panels; water debates; ministerial round tables; ministerial, local authorities and parliamentarians conferences; regional trialogues; side events and cultural, youth, gender, religious and entertainment events that you will experience during the next 6 days.

The added-value of the World Water Forum comes from the multiplicity and diversity of voices expressed in its preparatory process and during the forum week. And we do count on all of you to build this multi-stakeholder dialogue, to make everybody seat around the same table because water deserves this gathering.

Water also deserves new thinking and concrete action. It deserves clear and transparent debates and adequate solutions. That is why the World Water Council, together with the French Government and the City of Marseille have designed a totally new process for this Forum. A process that emphasizes participation, interaction and that is focused on solutions and actions on the ground at all levels of decision-making.

As a process, the 6th Forum, is working in perfect alignment with the UN system to bring water into the discussions of the Conference on Sustainable Development Rio+20. We have the privilege to have with us the Minister of Environment of Brazil, Mrs. Izabella Teixeira and the UN Executive Coordinator for Rio+20, Mr. Brice Lalonde. They have confirmed the inclusion WATER as one of the 9 themes of the on-site event: Four Days of Dialogue on Sustainable Development.

Today is a day to say thank you. As some of you know, many people have contributed to the success of this event. If I would dare to name all of them, I am afraid I would certainly be lynched. However, I must pay tribute to the President of the World Water Council whose competence, dedication, friendship and support were essential for the completion of this work. Thank you my dear friend Loïc for guiding us through this river of sometimes very troubled waters along these last three years. 

I want to thank the City of Marseille in the person of Mayor Jean-Claude Gaudin, a visionary that trusted the World Water Council and its mission from the very beginning  and Vice-Mayor Martine Vassal who was the driving force mobilizing  the whole region of Provence and specially the youth to participate in our Forum. I want to thank the French Government in the person of Mr. Chrystian Fremont who has been always kindly available notwithstanding his heavy agenda. Last but not least, I would like to thank our Vice-President Guy Fradin and Executive-Director Jean-Marc Lacave for guiding the excellent Secretariat team at different times in the most efficient way.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Water is life. And life is like water flowing in a river. We have had during these two years of preparatory work different periods of low flows, meandering times, high flows and flooding times. However, as the river always reach the sea (provided of course that it is well managed), so we reach today the beginning of an extremely interesting event.

I wish you all a very fruitful week. Enjoy the Forum program, make new friends, and be prepared for a very innovative and forward looking Forum of Marseille.

Thank you.

The message from Mai Walette and Sid Ahmed AG Ahmouden

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Young Malians Mai Walette and Sid Ahmed AG Ahmouden at the Opening Ceremony 12 March © 6th World Water Forum / Christophe Taamourte

Young Malians Mai Walette and Sid Ahmed AG Ahmouden at the Opening Ceremony 12 March © 6th World Water Forum / Christophe Taamourte

6th World Water Forum


12 – 17 Mars 2012

Speeches of Mai Walette and

Sid Ahmed AG Ahmouden

Good morning,

I have come to talk to you today about a topic that I know quite well: water.

It is not a text that I am going to read out to you; rather I am going to tell you about our life. These words are not mine only; I have chosen them with my grandfather, the village school teacher and my sister and brother, who are also here with me.

The trip was quite long from my native region.  Back in where I live, we are certainly not rich and many are hungry.  We are also, nowadays, suffering from diseases and from war …

These – you would agree with me – are a lot of problems for the very few that we have.  Few clothes that are often heavily mended before they are handed down to others to wear      Too little to eat and almost the same food: millet seeds and rice.  But also too little money to afford buying medicines, when we suffer from diarrhea or malaria

But let me reassure you.  We have managed to retain a precious commodity: our dignity.  This is where few still can mean a lot. 

Today, thanks to your generosity, I have come with my brother to entertain you on water. Or rather on thirst…  Do you know what thirst is?  And if yes, do you remember what it looked like?

I am not talking about a dry mouth after a festive meal.  No, I am referring rather to the fire burning your throat after three hours spent waiting to collect water from a well under a stifling sun.

I am referring to that terrible feeling and need to vomit after you have drunk dirty water from a stagnant pond, following the only rain in the entire season.

I am talking about that harrowing anxiety following the death of cattle after several months of drought.

I could also talk about the fear from mosquitoes and the suffering from a rainless year …

I have not come here to bring tears to your eyes. What I am telling you about is just our reality.  But since you have been saying everywhere that in Marseille, you would not only talk but finally bring solutions, we have come to collect them.

I am referring to true and real solutions, not just rhetorical speeches which are forgotten as soon as they are applauded… I am talking about acts which will ease access to water for us too …

You claim you have solutions? Then so much the better.  Bring them, but listen also to ours. And promise that you are going to commit yourself to implement them.

Promise that tomorrow, not in one hundred years from now, not even in ten years, but tomorrow, there will be no schools without drinking water taps and latrines in my country.

Promise that what you call « new energies » will drive pumps that will provide water for our families and livestock.

Pledge that in Rio too, you will make water a clear priority.  And finally, when water will be available every day that we will laugh with joy and that you will shed tears of joy…

Myself, my brother and all the others back home, are relying on you.

Thank you for your kind and noble endeavors.

“Strong political will and major financial commitments”

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Jean-Claude Gaudin, Mayor of Marseille during the opening ceremony 12 March © 6th World Water Forum / Christophe Taamourte

Jean-Claude Gaudin, Mayor of Marseille during the opening ceremony 12 March © 6th World Water Forum / Christophe Taamourte

Speech by Mayor of Marseille
Jean-Claude GAUDIN
Opening of the World Water Forum
Monday 12 march 2012

Mr Prime Minister,
Distinguished Heads of State and Government,
Honourable Ministers and Ambassadors, Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Marseille is proud as I, too, am proud, to welcome you today, you who come from every continent and even the most distant countries of the world.
Marseille and its people are proud of the honour that the world grants to us by accepting our invitation to meet in our city to advance, together, a cause that is as vital as that of water.
The choice you have made in selecting Marseille to host the work of the 6th World Water Forum constitutes an acknowledgement, for our history, for our culture and for the requirement that is ours, every day, for water and for the service of people.

Your choice, moreover, reflects the core values within which the solutions we shall express throughout this week must be based if we want them to be truly effective and sustainable.
In Marseille, we know, having for centuries suffered because of it, what a lack of water means. And there is absolutely no need to read the works of a native son, the famous writer Marcel Pagnol, for this historical truth to be etched into our collective unconscious.

We are also aware, for us to follow the historical continuity of local decision-makers, both visionary and determined, of the requirement for infrastructure to provide efficient water distribution and services. And there is no need either to emphasise to you that its realisation owes everything to resolute political will and major financial commitments.
We know, for having experienced it, the contentment brought about by water, when it is available in sufficient quantity and quality, to collective health, economic development and the quality of people’s daily lives.

And we know, for having read it in the eyes of children, victims of tragic events and having heard it in the voices of their countries’ decision-makers what solidarity means, something our city and its professionals have demonstrated in many circumstances…
Yes, Mr Prime Minister, Distinguished Heads of State, Highnesses, Excellencies, the choice of Marseille is both symbolic and exemplary to demonstrate concretely that the time for water solutions has arrived…

Loïc Fauchon, President of the World Water Council which he has managed to have recognised as “the voice of water” right around the globe, readily admits that “the time of easy water is over”.

The spoken text shall prevail. This Council has its headquarters in Marseille. It was our wish and we have fought for it to be set up here. And it is an honour for us to support, day by day, the growth of this young organisation which, within the space of fifteen years, has established itself internationally and has been able to organise gatherings of this size and this ambition.

So I say here emphatically:
we will continue because, I admit, this Council is just a little ours and because I sit on it myself with pride and happiness…
Yes, the time of easy water, is over for some countries. Yes, the time of easy water is ending for some parts of the world – and everyone should finally be aware of this.
But allow me to say that my wish and that your hope and that our duty to all today is firstly that the time of difficult water should be finally over for those billions of men and women who lack it, for those children in huge mega-cities who die because of diseases caused by poor water quality or poor or absent sanitation.

After the founding Forums of Marrakesh and the Hague, after the global awareness given to the water cause begun in Kyoto and then the assertion of a right to water and sanitation for all from the Mexico Forum, after the establishment of the Istanbul Water Consensus which emphasises the critical role of local authorities in water management, the Marseille meeting
means we have a duty to provide concrete and sustainable solutions to the challenges of this time.

The time for solutions, yes, means we must meet the challenges that climate change, irresistible urban growth, population growth, the depletion of a resource subject to ever increasing pollution and uncontrolled consumption, inequalities between rich and poor and disparities between dry and wet regions throw at us together.

Since we, the people of Marseille, must assume our vocation of world water capital, before you, on behalf of Marseille, I will make three commitments. The first concerns our water consumption, the second our wastewater discharges at sea and the third the protection of people and property against flooding. I will have the opportunity to develop these commitments more widely that will be added to the dozens of solutions that our city will be putting forward throughout the Forum.

Thank you.

Series of proposals

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The website created to improve debates and reflexions during the World Water Forum, has been registering for months contributions coming from all around the world. About 1400 realistic and promising initiatives have been registered.

Although discussions between all participants have not started yet, a commitment seems already well engaged : the 6th World Water Forum will be, indeed, the Forum of Solutions! The platform www.solutionsforwater.orgthat aims at collecting proposals of concrete answers to water and sanitation issues, registers about 1.400 contributions coming from the whole world. If Europe concentrates almost half of these contributions, Near and Middle East and Asia-Oceania produce about 400, Americas (North and South) 230 and Africa 120. 

These reflexions are coming from all kind of actors : experts, companies, elected representatives, donors, NGOs or simple citizens. They all accepted the constraints of the exercise: each solution, either institutional, legal, technical, financial or within the communication sector, has to be realistic and respectful of first established criterions, which are the following: adequacy with Forum’s targets, a successful experimentation, a demonstrated efficiency, potential to be reproduced and to generate favourable effects on the long term or ability to convince authorities to implement it. 

Contributors bring more than guideline reflexions : they detail how to fix the issues through projects they hold or that made their proof on their territories. They can be consulted in three ways : “targets”, “conditions of success” or large geographical areas. The website has counted, since its launch, about 60.000 visitors coming from 189 countries and more than 312.000 pages were viewed! Counting 1.600 active members, the platform stays opened during the Forum and even after, to offer everyone the opportunity to complete the list…

2012 : turning point in European initiatives for water protection and water management

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European Union and United Nations representatives meet at the 6th World Water Forum to discuss the state of play and a to find new ways concerning water management and protection in Europe and beyond.

Since 2000, the European Union (EU) has been committed to meeting the Millenium Development Goal (MDG) of better access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation. 2012 celebrates the 10th anniversary of the EU Water Initiative launched with this aim in 2002. Since then, 32 millions people have benefited from European actions on water and the first MDG has thus be reached already in 2010. However, a lot still needs to be done and the European Union will consequently intensify its efforts on access to sanitation services. Andris Piebalgs, European Commissioner for Cooperation and Development declares that “now, it is time to shift gear (… )”.  Looking forward to the Rio +20 Conference, the 2012’s edition of the European Report on Development puts the focus on management of water, energies and soil towards an inclusive and sustainable growth. Cooperation, the key to adaptation to the impacts of Climate Change Climate change strengthens the intensity and frequency of water and sanitation related issues in Europe and beyond. Water does not stop at boundaries. Accordingly cooperation is needed to ensure proper management and protection of water resources in transboundary river basins. 2012 will also be the year of the 20th anniversary of the United Nation Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes. This legal instrument has facilitated transboundary water cooperation in the Pan-European region since 1992. At the occasion of the 6th World Water Forum, Andrey Vasilyev, Acting Executive Secretary of the UNECE, express his wish to have the Convention getting an international dimension in 2012, thanks to numerous new countries joining since the opening to non EU countries in 2003. Cooperation leads to upstream-downstream solidarity and contributes accordingly to an improved and fair integrated water management in transboundary river basins.

“From the glaciers to the Mediterranean”

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The Permanent Centres of Environmental Initiative (CPIE) of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (PACA) are working to strengthen citizen’s capacity in sustainable land management through professional training courses, education and awareness-building campaigns. Seven CPIEs have undertaken the initiative “From the Glaciers to the Mediterranean Sea” which brings together environment and sustainable development actors. Delegates attending the Forum are invited daily at 10am to participate in the “Rivermind” game which illustrates the risks of flooding in PACA region.

Women for Water Partnership : encouraging the recognition of women commitment

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Women for Water Partnership, a federation gathering women associations from all over the world, tackles gender issues related to the water sector. Together with the 6th World Water Forum’s Secretary, WWP co-organised two days of pre-conference activities. Their work will also be displayed on their booth in le Palais Phocéen, and through their participation to the conference about women and water. Its objective: obtain the recognition of women’s work, so that they could take part in decision processes. In fact, according to the federation, only 1% of the funds allocated to development reach women associations.

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