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8th World Forum on Water in Brazil: “sharing water”

The 8th World Water Forum, held from 18 to 123 March, brought together more than 40,000 people from 160 countries around the theme “sharing water”. Consensus was reached on an increasing number of critical situations, notably in cities such as Cape Town, faced by demographic pressure and climate change: new solutions have to be found to manage water resources and share them fairly between their different uses. Otherwise, the risk is great.

From now to 2050, about five billion human beings will live in areas with poor access to water if we do nothing” – Audrey Azoulay, Director General of UNESCO.

The different processes engaged during the Forum brought to light innovations capable of meeting these challenges, such as nature-based solutions for improving water supply and quality and reducing the impact of natural disasters. This environmental innovation was also at the heart of the annual world report of UN-Water. Other solutions were discussed such as the circular economy, source-to-sea (the integrated management of fresh, coastal and sea water) and wastewater treatment, which permits reutilising water for agriculture as well as producing drinking water and filling aquifers. Today, 80% of the planet’s wastewater is discharged into the environment without any treatment.

Initiatives for the Future of Great Rivers already contributes to reflection on these new solutions and was present in the French delegation of 200 members, led by the French Partnership for Water. A presentation of IFGR’s activities was given at the SUEZ stand by Marie-Cécile Grisard, project manager of IFGR, accompanied by Tamsir Ndiaye (OMVS – Mali) and Marie-Laure Vercambre (Green Cross International – France), both members of the association. In addition, IFGR was invited to a side-event organised by Itaipu Binational, also a member and the leading partner of the event. Devoted to river transport, this round table brought together representatives of the Ministries of Paraguay and Brazil concerned by the ITAIPU. IFGR was able to present its works on river transport and the practical case of the River Rhone.

The recommendations resulting from this Forum will be taken to the High-Level Political Forum on sustainable development organised by the United Nations in July, which will report on the progress made regarding certain of the sustainable development objectives of the Member States set out in Agenda 2030, including no. 6 on the sustainable water management.

In 2021, the World Water Forum will be hosted by Senegal.

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