Environment

World Water Forum set for Sub-Saharan Africa for first time

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

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The World Water Forum, the largest international platform to discuss water-related problems and find solutions for some of the world's most pressing water challenges, will be held for the first time in sub-Saharan Africa, which has the greatest water security needs globally.

Statistics from the World Water Council, which created the forum, show that 319 million sub-Saharan Africans do not have access to safe drinking water, and nearly 700 million do not have access to safe sanitation facilities.

The ninth staging of the forum isn't for another two and a half years, but plans are expected to begin in earnest with the signing in Dakar, Senegal, of the agreement on June 22, with World Water Council President Benedito Braga and Prime Minister of the Republic of Senegal Mahammed Boun Abdallah representing the organising parties.

The forum is scheduled for the metropolitan area of Dakar during the third week of March 2021, under the theme 'Water Security for Peace and Development'. It is expected to mobilise world leaders, practitioners and civil society to address access to water and sanitation and related issues.

The expectation is that the convergence of political decision-makers and water stakeholders from all over the world will-leverage greater collective action for Africa and other regions and promote strong cooperation within the continent and the rest of the world to accelerate progress on global goals, particularly in the face of rapid urbanisation, climate change and disasters, and inadequate sanitation services.

“The purpose of the World Forum is to bring water experts and professionals closer to decision-makers. We want ministers, heads of state, parliamentarians, mayors and presidents of municipal chambers to participate in the forum, to exchange knowledge and to mobilise themselves around the rational use of water and global water security,” explains Braga.

He spoke to the global context of the effects of climate variability and change, including increased droughts and flooding worldwide, which are projected to worsen by 2030.

“The World Water Council understands that securing global water supplies means increasing financial flows for water infrastructure, reinforcing governance and management practices, and developing knowledge and capacity,” the council said.

It added that the overwhelming need for action on global water issues means cohesive, cooperative solutions are increasingly necessary.

The World Water Council is an international multi-stakeholder platform organisation whose mission is to mobilise action by engaging people in debate and challenging conventional thinking on issues related to water security, adaptation, and sustainability.

The seven previous editions of the World Water Forum were held in Marrakesh, Morocco (1997), The Hague, Netherlands (2000), Kyoto, Japan (2003), Mexico City, Mexico (2006), Istanbul, Turkey (2009), Marseilles, France (2012), Gyeongju and Daegu, South Korea (2015) and Brasilia, Brazil (2018).

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