“ ater is life” is said in
every language in the
world. And yet, water
is threatened today:
rampant demographic growth, anarchic
urbanisation, disturbed climate,
pollution, etc. These threats are caused
by humans and their erratic behaviour,
which is water’s primary enemy.
We are, thus, confronted by a major challenge: the demand for
water is ever-increasing and, at the same time, we must protect,
value, stock and even re-use water resources. We must establish
harmonious sharing of water between man and nature.
Sharing water is a difficult task and an essentially political
responsibility, for the future of water depends not only on
technological progress, but especially on political commitments.
Beyond the some 25,000 participants present at the Forum of
Istanbul and all those throughout the world who, over the course
of three years, contributed to its preparation, the active participation
of numerous Heads of State and Government and hundreds of
ministers, parliamentarians and mayors constitutes a major
step for the cause of water. It marks the passage, within the
international community, from hydro-technical to hydro-political.
Water demands the attention, respect and engagement of all the
world’s leaders. For a long time to come, they will be solicited to
increase the volume of available water to respond to the needs
of global growth. For a long time to come, rivers, lakes and
underground aquifers will be stretched a little further to quench
the ever-increasing thirst of the planet.
Dialogue & Debate at the
5th World Water Forum
But to increase indefinitely the water supply is expensive, particularly
in the actual context of climate evolution, economic crisis and
increased energy costs. Increasing supply puts natural surroundings
at risk when humans confuse a response to essential needs with
the pillage of hydrological riches.
We can no longer accept to continue to spend more money on
producing water that we then waste and dirty.
We must say it again loudly and clearly, as we did in Istanbul: The
time of easy water is over.
Today, it is up to Humankind to build bridges, bridges that are as
many sustainable, useful and federating solutions. Bridges that
bring the shores of knowledge, law, money and governance
This is all possible if only political leaders and all of civil society
mobilizes itself and speaks with one single voice that echoes
throughout the world to ensure good quality water in the long term
for future generations. And beyond theories and discourse,
to concretely implement the right to access to water and sanitation
as a right that is integral to respect for human dignity.
The 5th World Water Forum, by gathering intelligence, cultures
and hearts, brought its stone to the edifice. It contributed to spreading
these ideas and to bringing people together so that the house of
water may be built in tolerance and solidarity.
With Turkey, with the entire international community, the World
Water Council will continue to promote this cause.
President of the World Water Council
Dialogue & Debate at the
5th World Water Forum
For many reasons, 2009 will be a turning point in human history. At the dawn
of a new era, the 5th World Water Forum marked the rise of a new paradigm,
a turning from the production-oriented to the eco-oriented, where the whole
is greater than the sum of its parts. The 5th World Water Forum was in many
ways a groundbreaking event, featuring:
■ Approximately 16 000 engaged participants and over 30 000 total participants including those in the Fair/Expo:
representatives of national and local governments, UN agencies, intergovernmental organizations, civil society,
academia, water operators, business & industry, indigenous groups, youth, and the media;
■ Active participation of people from 182 countries;
■ 1 300 political process participants: 165 delegations, 90 ministers and 19 undersecretaries, over 250 parliamentarians,
over 300 mayors and local officials;
■ 106 thematic sessions prepared by more than 400 organizations;
■ 5 high level panels;
■ 7 regional processes;
■ 1000 press representatives producing 2000 international articles/features.
A GROUNDBREAKING EVENT
> Parliamentarians agreed upon the
he 5 th World Water Forum
succeeded in gauging the com- establishment of a permanent interna-
mitments of political leaders tional Parliamentary “Helpdesk” to
to take up action on water: aid political cooperation on water
legislation and its implementation.
> Ministers adopted the Ministerial It will serve to:
Statement. A Water Guide, was also
drafted during the preparatory process • Coordinate: Guide responsibility
to address the global challenges related for enacting water and sanitation
to water within the context of sustai- laws;
nable development and global changes. • Showcase: Share best global
It includes commitments, for example, practices and water-related
to intensify efforts to achieve MDG legislation;
targets, implement IWRM and infor- • Respond: Quickly answer urgent
mation sharing at the river-basin level questions;
and prevent and respond to water- • Link: Unite all parties
related disasters. in a globally cooperative
> A number of Mayors signed the
Opening of the Thematic Sessions.
Istanbul Water Consensus (IWC), > Heads of State from a select number
a new compact for Local and Regional of countries launched a broad-based
Authorities committed to adapting Appeal for Action, which seeks to
their water infrastructure and services promote water security, climate
to the emerging challenges they are adaptability and international solidarity
facing, such as climate change, rapid through a more strategic use of the
urban growth, depletion and pollution world’s most precious resource, water.
of water resources or aging infrastruc-
ture. The 58 signatories of the IWC Other important achievements
commited to prepare action plans to included highlighting key issues
analyse and cope with these challenges. on the global water agenda that
Ten major cities will continue to build require a multi-stakeholder response.
on the momentum generated thus far These were addressed through a
on specific issues, in their special role number of High Level Panels:
as “champion cities” for the IWC.
> Environment Ministers and leaders
from intergovernmental organisations,
local government and civil society,
representing different perspectives,
expressed their common desire for the
climate and water families to work
more closely together. A Ministerial
Action Plan will carry the Forum’s
messages on water and climate change
into the UNFCCC process and COP-15
> In light of the recent financial crisis,
decision-makers on the High Level
Panel on Finance provided options on
how to increase the overall funding for
the water sector, at a time of increasing
social, economic and environmental
World Water Development Report Launch. challenges. The panel recommended
08 that investment in water infrastructure
be included in the fiscal stimulus message emerged that water is the
packages currently being developed medium through which climate
to address the economic crisis. change acts. Participants recommended
working on “hotspots” and channelling
> The High-Level Expert Panel on the 5th World Water Forum outcomes
Water and Disaster identified six into the UNFCCC CoP15 process, as
specific priorities and 40 action guide- well as other international processes.
lines to prevent, prepare for, manage
and recover from water-related disasters.
These are presented in Water and
Disaster, the report of the Panel that
was launched and debated at the
Forum. Panellists called on the
governments of all nations to endorse
and adopt those measures immediately.
> The Forum brought together
representatives from the water, agri-
culture and energy sectors to reflect
upon humankind’s rising demands for
food and energy, which are depleting
our water supplies. Recognising the
underdeveloped understanding of the
water, food and energy nexus, panellists
expressed their desire to continue
Opening of the Thematic Sessions.
working with the World Water Council
to develop further guidance for more
coordinated management in this domain. > Forum participants agreed that river
basin organizations offer a vehicle
> The 3rd UN World Water Development through which a range of partners can
Report, released during the Forum work together. They recommended
week, made it clear that targets to that IWRM be practiced at different
provide access to safe sanitation are scales to be helpful in allocating water
not being met. Panellists set out the appropriately. Strong action was
daunting challenges of megacities and recommended to follow-up with the
pollution in industrialized areas and implementation of IWRM.
coastal zones. They urged development
agencies to move beyond the traditional > A wide majority of stakeholders
paradigm of water-borne sewage reaffirmed support for the right to
and flush toilets to explore creative water and sanitation and supported
approaches that employ diverse, further efforts for its implementation.
appropriate technology and policies. Participants defined 10 priority issues
for catalyzing institutional change
Hundreds of organisations and and policies. In an effort to address
thousands of participants joined the corruption issues, participants called
conversation around the six leading for the creation of an international
themes of the Forum: tribunal to address violations and
launched an appeal to incorporate
> Participants at the 5th World Water anti-corruption safeguards into project
Forum concluded that good adaptation designs.
measures for climate change and
disasters are critical. To do so, more
work is needed to continue to dovetail
efforts before crises arise. A clear 09
A GROUNDBREAKING EVENT
> Forum participants recognised that water should still be requested in were recognized as powerful agents
financing needs for the water sector national budgets, increased efficiency for change in this domain, especially
are still enormous and remain a major and greater innovation can actually in the advent of new technologies that
constraint for further development. reduce financing needs. will improve interconnectedness in
They agreed that funds need to be future water management strategies.
allocated where they can have the > With a view to strengthening science Partners also committed to improve
biggest impact and require support and education, participants drafted the organization and availability of
from both the public and private guiding principles for water education, water-related data, building upon
sector. Participants also recognised knowledge and capacity development. existing systems.
that although a higher priority for Both youth and network associations
Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, Prince of Orange and Crown Prince Naruhito of Japan at the opening Ceremony.
Seven Regional Preparatory Processes, cipants committed to organize regional be even more important to open up
culminating in panel presentations and preparatory fora in the future to support dialogues and bring stakeholders
other activities at the 5th World Water continued progress on water issues in together to compare notes, learn from
Forum, provided rich contributions local contexts. each other and agree upon a common
to both the political and thematic way forward. ■
outcomes of the Forum. These processes Despite the general economic crisis,
were important catalysts for mobilizing the attendance of the 5th World Water
stakeholders, promoting cooperation Forum in record numbers clearly showed
and impacting political decision-making how water issues are gaining political
in their regions. Organisers and parti- momentum. In the near future, it will
Dialogue & Debate at the
5th World Water Forum
THE TIME IS NOW
Rising global temperatures are changing our climate and affecting our water.
The signs are all there-extreme weather events, rising sea levels, increasing
floods, melting glaciers and severe droughts throughout the world.
“ e are all responsible,” According to the 4th Assessment existing pressures on water resources,
Loïc Fauchon, President Report of the Intergovernmental Panel such as population growth, land-use
of the World Water on Climate Change (IPCC), the links change and changes in consumption
Council, told participants between water and climate change are patterns.
attending the 5th World Water Forum. undeniable, with water predicted to be
“Responsible for the current climate the primary medium through which
changes, responsible for the tensions early climate change impacts will
which reduce the availability of fresh- be felt by people, ecosystems and
water that is indispensable to the survival economies. Moreover, these climate
of humanity.” change impacts will compound other 13
ADAPTING TO CLIMATE CHANGE: THE TIME IS NOW
Show me the money! Generating Political Momentum
But what sources of funding can be In light of so much uncertainty,
utilised to implement adaptation it is often difficult to convince
measures, especially considering the decision-makers to act. “Inaction is
current global financial crisis? This not an option,” stressed William
question was raised in discussions Cosgrove, a former president of the
throughout the Forum. World Water Council and current
Content Coordinator of the recently
According to studies by the secretariat launched Third World Water Deve-
of the United Nations Framework lopment Report (WWDR-3).
Convention on Climate Change “Do not wait for things to happen, act
(UNFCCC) and others, the additional now while preparing for an uncertain
investment and financial flows needed future. Leaders in the water domain
to adapt to climate change are likely and decision makers outside it must
to amount to tens of billions of dollars work together to address adaptation.”
annually for the coming decades.
Some estimate that adaptation costs If the 5 th World Water Forum is
Lindiwe Benedicta Hendricks, South Africa’s
could be as much as US$530 billion any indication, decision-makers, are, Minister of Water Affairs and Forestry.
from now until 2030. At present, the indeed, aware of the importance of
Global Environmental Facility (GEF) climate change on the international
offers the largest source of funding- agenda. Politicians at every level They emphasized that governments
about US$180 million for adaptation addressed climate change during should work to identify and establish
projects. The World Bank is also the Forum. Heads of State specifically new financing mechanisms for adap-
establishing a climate investment fund identified climate change as a force tation so that vulnerable communities,
in which donors have recently pledged to contend with and called urgently especially in developing countries,
over US$6 billion. for adaptation strategies. Ministers will have the resources and support
developed their body of work around they need to protect themselves from
the overarching theme of “Global the worst impacts of climate change.
“Inaction is not an option.
Changes”, including climate change.
Do not wait for things Local and regional authorities called “Water plays a crucial role in adapta-
to happen, act now while on national governments to anticipate tion,” concluded Tineke Huizinga,
preparing for an uncertain climate change-related effects into Deputy Minister for Transport and
future. Leaders in the the design of infrastructure at the local Water of the Netherlands and co-chair
water domain and level. of the ministerial roundtable on water
decision makers outside and climate change. “Without cross-
Parliamentarians called on developed sectoral cooperation, we won’t be able
it must work together
countries to reduce their production to meet our goals for the future.
to address adaptation.” of greenhouse gases and encouraged The water community needs to speak
linking water to climate through the with one voice and agree on putting
former president of the World Water Council Conference of the Parties (COP) adaptation on national agendas at
and current Content Coordinator
of the Third World Water
Development Report (WWRD-3).
Government representatives taking part
But even if funding becomes available, in a ministerial roundtable discussion
some participants asked how these at the Forum on bridging the water
lending institutions and government and climate agendas also came to
aid programmes will ensure that agreement on the increasing importance
the adaptation funds are used most of adaptation. In order for countries
effectively. How should these funds be to become more “climate proof”, they
channeled so that they can reach those highlighted the need to further
most in need? Which proposals are enhance scientific knowledge, coope-
most likely to generate an adequate ration, monitoring and early warning
16 and predictable flow of funds? capacities.
From Istanbul to Copenhagen
A major opportunity for the water and
climate communities to come together
will be at the UN Climate Change
Conference in Copenhagen in December
2009. It is here that the water and
adaptation issue can and should be
raised, according to a general consensus
reached at the 5th World Water Forum “Without cross-sectoral
in Istanbul. “Adaptation must be an
cooperation, we won’t
integral part of the global deal that
will succeed the Kyoto Protocol,”
be able to meet our goals
emphasized Ger Bergkamp, Director for the future.
General of the World Water Council. The water community
“The time has come to integrate the needs to speak with
adaptation and mitigation agendas. one voice and agree
A coordinated focus on water will on putting adaptation
Tineke Huizinga, Deputy Minister for Transport
and Water of the Netherlands. bridge the old climate change divides,
on national agendas
empower people to reduce their
vulnerability, and strengthen national
resilience both now and during the
Tineke Huizinga, Deputy Minister for Transport
tumultuous years ahead.” ■ and Water of the Netherlands.
High-Level Panel on Water and Climate Change.
Perspectives on Water and Climate Change Adaptation - New Publication Series.
CPWC has coordinated the production of 16 papers on Water and Climate Change Adaptation, produced
together with the World Water Council, IUCN and IWA.
The perspectives offer various thematic, geographical and sectoral points of view on water and climate change adaptation.
All Perspective Papers, together with the “Introduction, Summary and Key Messages” document, can be found in English,
Spanish and French at: http://www.waterandclimate.org/index.php?id=5thWorldWaterForumpublications810
In addition to these 17 digital documents, a synthesis document, “Towards a Framework for Climate Proofing”,
is also available in printed form.
Dialogue & Debate at the
5th World Water Forum
Natural disasters can happen anywhere, at any
time - from the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004
to Hurricane Katrina in 2005, from massive floods
in Europe and earthquakes in China to Australia’s
worst drought in 100 years.
ven as participants gathered at killed more than 235,000 people and
the 5th World Water Forum in cost US$181 billion, according to
Istanbul, an earthquake off reports released at the 5th World Water
the small island nation of Forum.
Tonga triggered a tsunami in the South
Pacific. Fortunately, there were no Unfortunately, the trend shows no signs
reports of injuries or coastal damage, of slowing down. Hydro-meteorological
but inhabitants of a crowded urban disasters, contrary to geological ones,
area outside Jakarta, Indonesia, were have become ever more devastating
not so lucky when heavy rains caused in recent decades. And it is not unrea-
a large dam to burst at 2:00 AM less sonable to conclude that an increasingly
than one week after the Forum. Every crowded planet and climate change are
year, hundreds of millions of people the culprits of this escalation. The toll
are affected by natural disasters, causing in lives and livelihoods will only worsen
fatalities and billions of dollars worth if the issue is not brought to the fore-
of damage. In 2008 alone, 321 disasters front of the global agenda. 19
BEFORE DISASTERS STRIKE
During the 5th World Water Forum, structural measures, such as the are coupled with public awareness and
stakeholders in the Asia-Pacific region traditional Japanese “soda mattress” enhanced legal frameworks and funding,
were instrumental in calling attention method--a natural system of tree the results can be impressive.
to these issues, as well they should. branches and rocks woven together to As reported in one of the Forum’s
This region suffers most from water- protect against riverbank erosion in sessions, effective preparative measures
related disasters, accounting for half the Mekong River. saved an estimated 650,000 ships and
the world’s fatalities between 1980 4.15 million people from the disastrous
and 2006 and 90% of the affected Disaster prevention starts with local effects of typhoons in 2008.
populations. In a special focus session measures, stressed many participants.
at the Forum, the Ministry of Water An important ingredient of those local High-level commitment required
Resources of the People’s Republic of solutions, too often overlooked, is
China and its partners provided advice recognizing that human activity often Given the increasing frequency of
on emergency strategies to deal not increases vulnerability, while nature hydro-meteorological disasters, parti-
only with extensive damage incurred itself is vital to reducing the impacts. cipants strongly urged governments
to infrastructures during mega-disasters, In fact, natural buffer areas such to integrate water-related disaster
but also the secondary threats of as lakes, wetlands and forests can relief into national development and
repairing those structures without actually act as shields to help protect financial plans. They also actively
causing further harm. At the other end from floods and to store precious promoted cooperation and data sharing
of the spectrum, the Spanish Ministry resources. among countries to prevent further
of Environment and Rural and Marine losses that result from these natural
Affairs and its partners shared their Whether through conservation or tragedies.
valuable experiences on how to cope cutting-edge modern technology,
with the lack of water using drought disaster management requires an Those calls were transformed into
risk management strategies. integrated approach that involves recommendations emanating from the
stakeholders and different cross- Ministerial Roundtable on the subject,
Reducing the risks sections of society. One of the major chaired by Japan and Portugal and
messages emerging from discussions moderated by two UN bodies - Inter-
“Disasters strike just when you have at the Forum argued that cooperation national Strategy for Disaster Reduction
forgotten about them,” said Japanese through a “trialogue” of government, and the Convention to Combat
Crown Prince Naruhito, who delivered society and science is crucial to Desertification (see text box). But the
the keynote address at the 5th World manage water-related disasters better ministers even went a step further by
Water Forum’s High-Level Expert and to bridge technical and capacity highlighting the need to integrate risk
Panel on Water and Disasters. “That divides, especially in developing reduction strategies into climate
is why prevention measures are so countries. In fact, when improvements change adaptation plans and to clarify
important: we must act before disasters in structural and management systems everyone’s roles and responsibilities.
“We must act before
Japanese Crown Prince Naruhito
As pointed out during the 5th World
Water Form’s sessions and panels,
technology and the exchange of reliable
data, especially hydrological and
climatic data, are key to reducing and
preventing loss from water-related
disasters. This can range from high-tech,
region-wide early warning systems
and flood forecasting models to
20 relatively simple, innovative low-cost Keynote Address of Japanese Crown Prince Naruhito.
• Provide early diagnosis,
and evacuation alert systems;
• Integrate the reduction of disaster
risk and climate change into
• Improve disaster response;
• Provide safe water and
sanitation following disasters;
• Employ cross-cutting initiatives
to share water information
governments and regions.
To implement these priorities, the
report sets out 40 concrete actions at
Abdullah Gül, President, Republic of Turkey and Han Seung-Soo, Prime Minister of South Korea.
the local, national, regional and global
levels for reducing the loss of life and
Several countries also pledged to include political support and capacity livelihoods. For example, the Panel
develop a specific action plan to development in disaster preparedness proposes that national governments
address the issue of drought prevention and response. On the other hand, develop people-centered warning
and management. major weaknesses still persist in systems and data collection tools
addressing the root causes of disasters, linked to existing widespread
“We need to recognize that technical such as land use and poverty. communication systems, such as cell
solutions are not enough to face global phone networks. It also calls for the
water challenges,” said Loïc Fauchon, Plan of action establishment of a global code of
President of the World Water Council. conduct for post-disaster provision
“We also need to recognize that many The Hashimoto Action Plan launched of water and sanitation to guide and
actors at the local level have developed at the 4th World Water Forum of coordinate organizations in their
capacities to improve preparedness Mexico in 2006 mentions the issue of actions. Reaching beyond the water
and response to disasters. These actors water and disasters in its priorities. box, it also suggests that development
need to be better integrated in the To stimulate the implementation of the banks convene regional seminars on
local, regional and national plans.” Hyogo Framework for Action--a global how effective disaster planning can
blueprint to substantially reduce disaster contribute to economic growth.
losses by 2015--the UN Secretary-
“We need to recognize General’s Advisory Board on Water
that technical and Sanitation (UNSGAB) established
a High Level Expert Panel on Water
solutions are not and Disasters. This panel prepared and
enough to face global launched a specific Action Plan on
water challenges” Water and Disaster during the 5th
World Water Forum (available for
Loïc Fauchon, downloading from
President of the World Water Council.
During the High Level Expert Panel
on Water and Disaster, Margareta The plan calls on UN agencies, regional
Wahlström, UN Assistant Secretary- bodies, national governments and
General for Disaster Risk Reduction, local authorities to:
noted that her agency had received 90
country reports on disaster risk to date • Mobilize and take action before
and that major areas of progress disaster strikes; 21
BEFORE DISASTERS STRIKE
The High-Level Expert Panel “We were asked to come up with participating in the roundtable discus-
on Water and Disasters concrete measures to anticipate, sion. The Action Plan itself will be
prevent and react to disasters,” said presented to the UN Secretary-General
proposes that national
Jerome Delli Priscoli, a senior advisor and to international agencies that
governments develop on international water issues with the work on natural disaster issues.
people-centered warning US Army Corps of Engineers and an
systems and data collection Alternate Governor of the World “I believe we have the most useful
tools linked to existing Water Council. “This is a new kind of updated guidelines for tackling water-
widespread communication model, one that is tangible and helps related disasters,” said Han Seung-soo,
systems, such as cell phone people understand what’s happening Prime Minister of South Korea and
so they can react.” Founding Chair of the Expert Panel.
“My hope is that the action plan will
Many of the recommendations in the build bridges in global efforts in
Action Plan, related to disasters management of water-related disasters.”
involving both too much and too little ■
water, were espoused by the ministers
MINISTERIAL COMMITMENTS SOME MINISTERIAL ROUNDTABLE
ON WATER-RELATED DISASTERS RECOMMENDATIONS
> We resolve to work and respond to natural > Risk reduction and mitigation strategies should
and human-induced disasters, including be integrated into national development and
floods and droughts. financial plans. In addition to mitigation
measures, climate change adaptation measures
> We resolve to proceed, where possible, should be implemented.
from crisis management to disaster
preparedness and prevention of human- > National legal frameworks on water-related
induced disasters and risk management disasters should be clarified so that the
by developing early warning systems, responsibilities and roles of he stakeholders
implementing structural and non-structural can be identified.
measures, both for water resources and
access to water and sanitation, and building > International cooperation on risks associated
capacity at all levels. with water-related disasters should be enhanced.
> We resolve to take necessary post-disaster > Measures should be taken in order to increase
mitigation and rehabilitation measures for public awareness and training programmes
affected people and hydrological systems. should be developed and implemented.
Best practices and experiences based on
> We still strive to improve water-related scientific knowledge should be exchanged
monitoring systems and ensure that useful among countries. Information sharing for
information is made freely available to all decision-making processes and utilizing
concerned populations. a combination of existing and emerging
technologies to cope with water-related
disasters should be promoted.
High Level Panel on Water, Food and Energy.
THE WATER, FOOD AND ENERGY NEXUS:
BREAKING NEW GROUND
Dialogue & Debate at the
5th World Water Forum
Discussions during the 5th World Water Forum focused on “water and energy”
and “water and food” issues in parallel. Nonetheless, participants in both
domains drew the same conclusion: More integrated policies and a further
focus on multi-functional uses of water are needed to address the increasing
competition for water from the agriculture and energy sectors. Speakers
emphasized that the inter-linkage between water, food and energy could be
turned into a win-win situation, rather than a competitive one.
THE WATER, FOOD AND ENERGY NEXUS: BREAKING NEW GROUND
Alexandre Müller, Assitant Director General, Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN
and Ger Bergkamp, Director General, World Water Council.
ecognition of this intercon- Food (and Energy) for Thought
nection was also emphasized
in regional discussions at “We have a patchwork of information
the 5th World Water Forum, available. From this we need to develop
for example, in the “Message of Foz a more coherent view on the interac-
do Iguassu”, a product of the preparatory tions between water and energy and
process for the Americas, which called water and food,” said Ger Bergkamp,
for ”the multiple use of water on an Director General of the World Water
efficient and rational basis.” Council during the High Level Expert
Panel on Water, Food and Energy.
The production and supply of food “Once we map out the relationships,
and energy are increasingly inter-linked, we can see the challenges and start to
and both depend on a vulne- move towards solutions.”
rable resource: water.
A minimum of Against the backdrop of At the very least, we already know
2,500 litres of water wildly fluctuating energy that, often, the same people lack both
access to energy and to water services
is needed to feed and food prices and moun-
and subsist on less than US$1.25 a
ting concern over pressure
a person for one day, on renewable natural day, according to the Third World
which is the same resources, speakers and Water Development Report. So far,
global agricultural food production
amount used participants at the 5th World
has kept pace with population growth,
Water Forum began to
to produce just one clarify the interdependencies or nearly. However, 900 million people
litre of bio-fuel. between water, food and remain undernourished, rural migrants
energy and to define the are leaving farms for cities, and by
Mohammed Ait-Kadi, President of the General contours of a new vision 2030, the demand for food crops
Council of Agricultural Development in Morocco. in developing countries will have
around the production and
supply of food and energy, increased by 67%, further straining
within water boundaries. already overtapped water resources.
Undeniably, participants were striving
26 not to remain inside the “water box.”
WWF-Turkey CEO Filiz Demirayak Of course, the water-food-energy He noted that the footprinting concept
said it is time to change our perception nexus could not be discussed without had gained popularity in a variety of
of water and water use practices consi- evoking bio-fuels. Energy crops are sectors, but: “we are in the very early
derably. We are facing an ecological currently providing farmers with new stages of understanding the water foot-
credit crunch. “The level of urgency opportunities to improve their liveli- print in the energy sector, and there
to take action on water issues is at hoods, but are sometimes perceived as have been some quite irresponsible
the critical stage. According to WWF’s draining precious resources away from recent statements, which are far from
Living Planet Index, we have already food production. Alexander Müller, having a sound scientific basis”.
exceeded natural resources’ reproductive Assistant Director General, Food and Taylor concluded by calling for
capacity by 30%,” she said. Agriculture Organization of the UN, governments and academia to advance
said it is “absolutely necessary” to understanding in this area.
A Focus on Farming manage the links between energy and
food production” He pointed out that a
With agriculture constituting 70% of minimum of 2,500 litres of water is
total water use, rising food prices needed to feed a person for one day, “Water security
could spark the beginning of strategies which is the same amount used to is the gossamer
for better resource management. produce just one litre of bio-fuel.
Anders Berntell, Executive Director Some argued that striking a balance that links the web
of the Stockholm International Water between bio-energy and food production of energy, food,
Institute, noted that when there is possible using smarter technology environmental
is competition for a resource, the first within a framework of sustainable
step is to manage demand. He chal- development, while others dismissed sustainability and
lenged participants to address water the possibility of reconciling the two. human security”.
efficiency in agricultural production
and to reduce inefficiency in the entire David Andrews, Senior Advisor to the Mohammed Ait-Kadi, President of the General
food chain, as 50% of food is wasted President of the 63rd Session of the Council of Agricultural Development in Morocco.
between farm and fork. To do so will UN General Assembly on Food Policy
require closer examination of water and Sustainable Development, agreed
footprints, in addition to international that solutions do exist. “We must A variety of concrete proposals were
trade patterns. change the way we look at agriculture made to facilitate interactions within
and move from a productionist view, the water-food-energy nexus, from
But farmers might not be that interested which is narrow and works in silos, to operating dams in ways that release
in more crop per drop; they are a more holistic and ecological point river currents through energy turbines,
more concerned about income per of view,” he recommended. but store the water in aquifers or
drop. “This is about livelihoods,” floodplains, to using better metering
commented Rodney Cooke, Director Water Multi-Tasking and pricing structures to improve
of the Technical Advisory Division for efficiency and lower demand across
the International Fund for Agriculture In addressing the interrelations between the food and energy sectors.
(IFAD). “We have learned that farmers water and energy production, Richard
must be at the centre of water mana- Taylor, Executive Director of the Others argued that one way to create
gement initiatives. Farmers are the International Hydropower Association, greater cohesion among water, food
gatekeepers of our natural resources.” noted that “There is a vital role for and energy policies would be to deal
hydropower within modern, smarter with water and energy within the same
However, farmers can spur rural deve- power systems, but not one technology ministry. “Countries need one national
lopment only if they have access to is a panacea - cleaner energy techno- plan for energy and water,” stressed
credit and markets. “In Africa, there logies need to be better integrated for Milagros Couchoud Gregory, Director
is a strong need for investment in more sustainable solutions. Joined-up General for Spain’s National Meteo-
agriculture, which is linked to invest- policy on water and energy is not rological Institute and a World Water
ment in water mobilization,” stated as advanced as it should be, and Council Alternate Governor.
Aly Abou-Sabaa, Director of the sustainability assessment tools could
Agriculture and Agro-industry Depar- assist in this matter.” He added that
tment for the African Development estimations of water footprints for
Bank. all energy technologies are currently
quite primitive and misleading. 27
THE WATER, FOOD AND ENERGY NEXUS: BREAKING NEW GROUND
Anders Berntell, Executive Director, Stockholm International Water Institute and Filiz Demirayak, WWF-Turkey CEO.
The issue is not to take an energy view Recognizing that the dialogue had
or an agricultural view, advised only just begun, Ait-Kadi further
Mohammed Ait-Kadi President of the called on the World Water Council to
General Council of Agricultural launch a multi-stakeholder platform
Development of Morocco. “Water to continue to discuss water, food and
security is the gossamer that links the energy linkages and create recom-
web of energy, food, environmental mendations on how to dovetail efforts.
sustainability and human security,” The resulting product could resemble
he said. the report drafted by the Intergovern-
mental Panel on Climate Change and
Colin Chartres, Director General of assist high-level decision makers at the
the International Water Management G8 or G20 in making sound policy
Institute, has also observed this paradigm choices. ■
shift in a number of countries. “Water
is no long an issue [just] for engineers
and scientists. It has become a more
profound social and economic issue,”
28 he noted.
In the Ministerial Statement adopted during the 5th these define sustainable water and energy
World Water Forum, Ministers agreed to take action: resources at regional, national and sub-national
levels.” It also recognized the “multiple benefits
> “We support country-led development projects of multiple uses and functions of water services,
in different sectors related to water, especially including for the most vulnerable users.”
with regard to energy and food security and
poverty eradication. While this sentiment was again echoed in the
Ministerial Roundtable discussions, both on
> “We will work to build new and maintain water for energy and on water for food, the
strengthen and improve existing infrastructure participants of the discussion on Water and
for multiple purposes, including water storage, Energy agreed that mechanisms and priorities
irrigation, energy production, navigation and were needed to develop a better understanding
disaster prevention and preparedness that are of the water and energy nexus and to improve
economically sound, environmentally sustainable the coherence of water and energy policies.
and socially equitable.” They called for a specific program on the
interactions between water and energy and
The Istanbul Water Guide annexed to the closer interaction between World Water Fora
Ministerial Statement recognized that “It is and other international processes, in particular
important to conduct national water and energy with the World Energy Fora. They also encouraged
resource sustainability assessments considering the proposal of actions to increase water secu-
agriculture and poverty aspects and through rity in case of volatile energy prices.
A water footprint is a calculation
of the water needed for the
production of any product
or service from start to finish.
> 16 000 litres
to produce 1 kilo of beef
> 140 litres
to produce 1 cup of coffee
> 120 litres
to produce 1 glass of wine
> 23 000 litres
to produce a leather bag
> 900 litres
to produce 1 kilo of corn
> 3000 litres
to produce 1 kilo of rice
> 1000 litres
to produce 1 litre of milk
> 1350 litres
to produce 1 kilo of wheat
Session Voltage and Volume: Can water and energy policies work hand in hand? 29
2015 IS Dialogue & Debate at the
5th World Water Forum
ccording to the third World In developing countries, 80% of health major United Nations conferences
Water Development Report, problems are linked to inadequate and summits, world leaders adopted
the link between poverty water and sanitation, claiming the the United Nations’ Millennium
and water is clear: the lives of 5 million people per year, 1.8 Declaration, which set out to reduce
number of people living on less than million of whom are children. Over extreme poverty by establishing a series
US$ 1.25 a day roughly coincides the past five years, diarrhea has killed of time- bound targets known as the
with the location and number of those more children than all the people lost Millennium Development Goals
without access to safe drinking water. in armed conflicts since World War II. (MDGs). Water and sanitation are
A closer look at the numbers paints a In Africa alone, an estimated 5% of central pillars, but beyond the specific
devastating portrait of a humanitarian GDP is lost annually due to illness and water and sanitation targets, water is
disaster. Nearly 1 billion people do not death caused by dirty water and poor also instrumental in attaining other
have guaranteed access to water and sanitation. MDGs, from reducing poverty, hunger
more than 2.6 billion are without basic and child mortality, to improving
sanitation. In 2000, building upon a decade of school attendance, especially for girls. 31
2015 IS AROUND THE CORNER! ARE WE PREPARED?
Speakers and participants at the 5th World of a global fund for water and health.
Water Forum acknowledged that mee-
ting the water and sanitation targets But money alone will not be enough.
is a precondition for making progress Political will, good governance, sound
on all other Millennium Development institutions and skilled labour will be
Goals. needed at all levels to better health,
encourage economic development,
In the UN’s 2008 MDG Report, Sha enable populations to regain human
Zukang, Under-Secretary-General for dignity, and reduce environmental
Economic and Social Affairs, reported impacts. Moreover, policy-making
that since 1990, progress had been and planning must become more
made and 1.6 billion people had gained interlinked across health, agriculture,
access to safe drinking water. However, energy and water sectors. “We cannot
almost half the developing world’s
population still lives without improved
sanitation. While the MDGs are critical
in directing international efforts towards
the same end goal, they have not yet
brought us far enough to reach the
desired targets before the 2015
What Remedies in Sight?
Gro Harlem Brundtland, former
Director General of the World Health
Organization and Chair of the World
Commission of Environment and
Development, known as the “Brundtland
Commission”, observed that half of High Level Panel on Sanitation.
the world’s hospital beds are occupied
by children and adults suffering from [continue to] think sectorally,” said
water-related diseases. Speaking at the Pasquale Steduto, Chair of UN Water.
closing ceremony of the 5th World
Water Forum, she noted: “This huge One way to support further achievement
economic burden could be avoided of the MDGs could be through the
but our progress is not promising. Global Framework for Action (GF4A)
We need more efforts to energize on water and sanitation. This initiative
policymakers and to work with all aims to facilitate concerted measures
stakeholders in concerted action.” at national and interna-
tional levels to improve
Many billions of dollars will be needed national planning pro- Half of the world’s
over the next six years to meet the cesses, enhance aid hospital beds are
MDG targets for safe drinking water effectiveness, increase occupied by children
and sanitation alone. “Financing is the investments and tackle
key to achieving the MDGs”, says Ben capacity constraints. and adults suffering
Braga, Director of the National Water It seeks to build mutual from water-related
Agency of Brazil and Vice-President accountability between
of the World Water Council. “We must national governments
establish innovative financing mecha- and development part-
nisms to allow the transfer of capital ners to deliver results to the sector.
and technology from North to South,” Participants at the Forum called upon
he urged. One such mechanism could global leaders to firmly commit to the
32 be the establishment by the G8 or G20 implementation of the Global Frame-
2015 IS AROUND THE CORNER! ARE WE PREPARED?
question of latrines. It is also very potential channeled in the right direction,
much a matter of urban planning, supporting development objectives.”
treatment facilities in mega-cities While achieving the MDGs is a noble
and preservation of coastal zones, as objective, some participants remarked
argued during the High Level Expert that when reached, the MDGs will
Panel on Sanitation. Regardless of only have helped out half of those
scale, Guy Fradin, Chief Executive in need. “Indeed, some progress has
Officer, French Agence de l’Eau been made on the MDGs,” said Pascal
Seine-Normandie, and a Governor of Steduto. “Post-2015, at least another
the World Water Council concurs: half of the world population will
“We must continue to make sanitation need safe drinking water and sanitation.”
sexy to mobilize political will. To do That moment will come before we
this, we must continue to talk about realise it. ■
the benefits of sanitation for dignity,
human health and the environment,”
he said. “Post-2015, at least
another half of
During the Forum, a special session
focused on sanitation, health and the world population
dignity, and their implications for gender will need safe drinking
equity. Women and girls traditionally water and sanitation.”
bear the water and sanitation burden.
They are responsible for fetching and
Pasquale Steduto, UN Water.
storing water and caring for family
members who fall ill due to water-
related diseases. This and the lack of
sanitation facilities keep many girls
out of school and subjects them to
violence. Participants made several
recommendations to improve gender
equity in the water sector, including
increased investment in sanitation.
Also, the collection of gender disag-
gregated data to measure the real
gender-specific impact of water and
sanitation in projects and programmes
would contribute to improving the
situation. In addition, participants
urged for greater involvement of Ben Braga, Director of the National Water Agency of Brazil and Vice-President
women in decision-making roles, of the World Water Council.
which would naturally result in the
development of more gender-friendly
Is the glass half-full or half-empty?
“Achieving and sustaining the higher
levels of water security needed to meet
the MDGs will be made more difficult
by the many emerging challenges,”
said Letitia Obeng, Chair, Global
Water Partnership. “Water is too precious
a resource to be left unmanaged. Its
34 power needs to be harnessed and its Guy Fradin, French Agence de l’eau Seine-Normandie and Klaus Töpfer, Forum Ambassador.
Dialogue & Debate at the
5th World Water Forum
While its negative impact has been seismic, the global economic crisis has also
created unprecedented opportunities for restructuring and reform, for those
countries with the means and determination to seize them.
n the past, for example, the stock The unfolding global financial and impact on the water sector during the
market crash at the beginning economic turmoil has combined with 5th World Water Forum. “The water
of the last century actually the food, energy and water crises to stir sector is under-funded and this could
provoked greater investment up an unprecedented “perfect storm” become worse,” he added. “Public
in utilities such as water, since it was that is applying enormous pressure on funding for infrastructure projects world-
seen as an unmistakeable value due developing economies, observed Jamal wide is constrained. And the water
to its necessity. As Rahm Emanuel, Saghir, Director of the Energy, Transport sector does not have a good track
US President Barack Obama’s and Water Department at the World record of advocating its case with
Chief of Staff, put it, “never waste Bank, in a technical experts session finance ministers. The situation with
a crisis.” focusing on the financial crisis and its private investment flows is even worse.” 37
WEATHERING A “PERFECT STORM”
are under stress, many observed,
investing in water development has be-
come even more critical, if only
because the plight of those without
access to water and sanitation is all the
more devastating in difficult times.
“During these times of financial crisis,
we cannot lose sight of the fundamental
economic importance of water for life
and commerce,” said Julia Marton-
Lefèvre, Director General of the
International Union for Conservation
of Nature (IUCN).
“Adequate financing is a major challenge
for meeting the Millennium Develop-
ment Goals (MDG) water and sanitation
Angel Gurria, Secretary-General of the OECD and Mehmet Simsek, Minister of Economy of Turkey. targets,” explained Sha Zukang, United
Nations Under-Secretary-General for
“The water sector Spotlighting Financing Economic and Social Affairs, in the
at the Forum High-Level Expert Panel discussion.
is under-funded and “Yet, in the midst of the current global
this could become In Istanbul, with 11 packed sessions financial and economic crisis, it is as
worse.” dedicated to financing issues, a High- important as ever that we keep these
Level Expert Panel, a technical panel priorities clearly in sight. Cutting budgets
Jamal Saghir, World Bank on the effects of the economic crisis for water and sanitation would be a
on the water sector and a report relea-
sed by the Organisation for Economic
Co-operation and Development (OECD)
“Adequate financing is a
on Overseas Development Assistance major challenge for meeting
(ODA), financing and economic issues the Millennium Development
at the 5th World Water Forum were in Goals water and sanitation
the spotlight perhaps more than in any targets. Cutting budgets for
other Forum. water and sanitation would
be a serious mistake.”
While financial resources are limited
and banks and other financial institutions Jamal Saghir, World Bank
Launching of the ODA report.