The theme of water mobilised around the globe on the occasion of the 8th World Water Forum

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The 8th edition of the World Water Forum took place 18-23 March in Brasilia, Brazil, with the motto “Sharing Water”. The WWF is the water event with the greatest dimension and global reach that brings together stakeholders from around the world every three years to share experiences and create a knowledge platform seeking to create greater awareness on water resources and contribute to the political and technical mobilisation towards the theme of water.

The Forum was composed of five processes: Thematic, Regional, Political, Sustainability and the Citizen’s Forum, and six main themes: Climate, People, Development, Urban, Ecosystems and Finance.

ANEAS was appointed by the World Water Council (WWC) and the Brazilian National Committee, to serve on the International Steering Committee (ISC), in order to contributing to the development of the Forum, its organisation and representing both Mexico and the Latin American region in this executive body.

ANEAS was also appointed as coordinator of Mexico Sub-region’s work within the Regional Process of the Americas, with the responsibility of bringing the Mexican voice, perspective and experience to the Forum, given that Mexico is considered one of the strong countries of the region and, therefore, its absence in the world’s largest water dialogue would be unthinkable.

The inauguration of the 8WWF was held in the Itamaratý Palace

During the Opening Ceremony, Michel Temer, President of Brazil, recognised the importance of platforms like the WWF for exchanging experiences and knowledge, “Water sustainability requires integrated actions within and between our countries, the solutions we seek are collective, through dialogue and cooperation,” he said.

Rodrigo Rollemberg, Governor of the Federal District of Brasilia, noted that efforts towards meeting the ODS are essential. “We have to share water, and for this we share knowledge, culture, opinions, ideas and experiences, we must cooperate, as governments and society, as one of the SDGs proposes, we must listen to the voices from around the world.”

Several Heads of State and world leaders took part in the Opening Ceremony such as the Presidents of Hungary (JánosÁder), Cabo Verde (Jorge Carlos Fonseca), Guyana (David Granger), Guinea-Bissau (José Mario Vaz), as well as the President of the UN General Assembly (Miroslav Lajcák) and UNESCO Director General (Audrey Azoulay), among other international authorities.

 

Regional Process of the Americas

The Regional Process of the Americas was coordinated by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), in collaboration with the National Association of Water and Sanitation Utilities of Mexico (ANEAS), Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), UNESCO-International Hydrological Programme, the Global Water Partnership, and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB); each of them in coordinating sub-regional processes, where ANEAS consolidated a specific sub-regional process for Mexico.

Among the main outputs were the subregional documents and a general document of the Americas. The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and the University of the Andes participated in the preparation of the regional study. The report of the Americas states that “The role of water in economy and its contribution to the wellbeing of countries depends on a set of economic, social, and geographical factors external to water management, and how the institutional system responds to the characteristics of the water resource and to the development challenges”.

Mexico’s Subregional Document is the result of a three-year process in which several preparatory meetings were held and divided into the same topics as the forum, but with Mexico’s specific characteristics.

The Mexican document was highly praised for the quality of its contributions made by authors such as: Dr. Polioptro F. Martínez Austria, UNESCO Chair on Hydrometeorological Risks, University of the Americas Puebla (UDLAP); Dr. Gabriela E. Moeller Chávez, Polytechnic University of the State of Morelos (UPEMOR); Dr. Waldo Ojeda Bustamante, Mexican Institute of Water Technology (IMTA); Dr. Ismael Aguilar Benítez, College of the Northern Frontier (COLEF); Mr. Roberto Olivares, National Association of Water and Sanitation Utilities of Mexico (ANEAS); María Elena Mesta Fernández, Water Advisory Council (CCA); Dr. Sergio Vargas Velázquez, University of the State of Morelos (UAEM); Dr. Roberto F. Salmón Castelo; International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC); as well as other independent authors such as Ricardo Sandoval Minero and Dr. Jaime Collado.

Mexico’s Participation

Although Mexico’s group of representatives was a smaller than in previous editions, they actively participated throughout the week in topics such as efficiency on and human right to water and sanitation services, training, water funds, climate change, basin management, citizen participation, extreme events management, source-to-sea management; to name a few.

The Mexican Delegation was composed of the following institutions: the National Association of Water and Sanitation Utilities of Mexico (ANEAS); UNAM-Engineering Institute, which also participated in representation of the Water System of Mexico City (SACMEX); Mexican Chamber of Construction Industry (CMIC); Hydraulic Resources Commission of the Chamber of Deputies; Mexican Institute of Water Technology (IMTA); National Water Commission (CONAGUA); Morelos and Sonora State Water Commissions; Puerto Vallarta Water, Drainage and Sewerage System (SEAPAL); Water and Sanitation Utility of Toluca; the Government of Puebla; the Mexican National Committee of the International Hydrological Programme (CONAMEXPHI); Cántaro Azul Foundation, which received an award for good practices and experiences in water and sanitation for its initiative “Safe water in schools, lessons learnt from Mexico”; Sustainable Association for Women in Morelos; among others.

The Mexican representatives took part in more than 15 sessions such as the Opening of the Process of the Americas, Award Ceremony of “Good practices and experiences in water and sanitation”, Launch of the UN WWDR Report 2018 “Nature-Based Solutions for Water Resources Management”, “Information and training for decision-makers”, “Progress in efficiency of water and sanitation services in the Americas”, “Have the Americas reached the conditions for guaranteeing the human rights to water and sanitation?”, “Water Guide Initiative, “Strengthening citizen participation in watershed management”, “Experiences facing droughts in the Americas”, “Source-to-sea priorities in different regions”, “Developing resilience to climate change in the Americas and Africa”, “Extreme events: links between science and public policy”, “Participatory water management: the role of water basin organisations”, and “Qualified workforce: the urgency to develop training on water “, among others.

The 8WWF by the numbers

From 19 to 23 March, Brasilia welcomed more than 120,000 people from 172 countries to the triennial water event with the greatest dimension and global reach: the World Water Forum.

Of these, 10,500 participated in the thematic sessions and the Expo, and 105,000 in the Citizen Village, a component of the Forum that strongly promoted the citizen participation, from primary school children to adults.

Representatives from 172 countries participated in over 300 sessions of the 5 processes. Other outstanding components were the Fair and Expo, where international organisations, government agencies, United Nations agencies and private initiative took part.

The political process brought together 12 Heads of State, 56 ministers from 56 countries, 150 Mayors and Governors, 134 Parliamentarians from 20 Nations, 84 Judges from 57 countries. The regional process met its objective of ensuring the representativeness of nations and continents. The sustainability process will continue with its objective of being a bridge to transfer the Forum results to the 2030 Agenda.

It can be asserted that the general objective of the Forum was met: to act as a catalyst for collective action, offering a unique platform in which the water community and key decision-makers interact and collaborate to advance in the long term global water-related challenges.

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Source: Sub-Directorate of Inter-Institutional Affairs, ANEAS of Mexico

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