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"Mobilising to manage the entire water cycle"

Interview of Philippe GUETTIER, Managing Director of the French Water Partnership

The French Water Partnership (PFE) is a forum of French public and private actors for the expression of collective messages on water, such as recently at the World Water Forum at Brasilia. What are its missions? Those of making a collective plea to give greater global priority to water, promote French expertise, develop exchanges and support the emergence of projects. IFGR recently joined the PFE and, on this occasion, gave its Managing Director, Philippe Guettier, the opportunity to speak.


What does IFGR’s membership of the PFE mean for you?

The PFE was founded 11 years ago with emphasis given to a limited water cycle, that’s to say access to drinking water and drainage, two subjects for which action is lacking at the international level.  It should not be forgotten that 2 billion people have no access to drinking water. For nearly three years now, we’ve widened our scope of action to the overall water cycle, meaning water and food security, water for energy, water and the climate, water and biodiversity, etc. Rivers play a strategic role in these issues, hence our satisfaction with the arrival of IFGR in our partnership to defend the balanced management of the world’s great rivers and a global view of water, both fresh and salt.

How are you going to work together? What are the objectives?

The PFE is committed to three priorities. The first is that of facilitating reaching the Sustainable Development Objectives (SDO) approved for all the countries of the world in 2015. These objectives focus in particular on good management of rivers, groundwater and coastal and sea water, hence the importance of IFGR’s contribution to our forum. The second priority is the issue of water in the light of climate change, since it is the first resource affected by this phenomenon. Here again, good management of the great rivers is a major issue for many populations. The third priority is the link between water and biodiversity. Dedicated workgroups are functional in each of these priorities within the PFE and IFGR will participate in them. Together, we can promote the essential role of rivers and give voice to the need to preserve water resources at high profile events such as the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development next July (the COP of the SDOs) and the COP 24 on Climate Change at the end of the year. The aim is to give greater weight and capture the largest audience possible for this message on water in order to obtain strong commitments from governments and all the decision-makers.


The World Water Forum was held at Brasilia from 18 to 23 March. What is you assessment?

The French delegation led by the PFE was the largest after that of Brazil. That’s a strong indication. The assessment is generally positive, especially since the Forum attracted nearly 100,000 people, including a large share of the general public who were greeted in the community village; next, because this forum gave rise to strong acts. One of these was the declaration of recommendations resulting from all these processes which include the priorities of the French actors, as well as a document produced by 150 parliamentarians from all over the world who expressed their vision of water management and the challenges involved. Then there was the declaration of judges and magistrates, a first, on the subject of the right of access to water and drainage.

Stand du PFE au Forum Mondial de l’eau – Brasilia @LudovicPiron

These documents will be presented to the HLPF in view to getting them included in the negotiations between governments at the United Nations. The dialogues and presentations of practical cases were also very interesting. Two important points stand out for me: the obvious emergence of reflection on nature-based solutions and growing mobilisation for the integrated management of the entire water cycle: fresh water, coastal water and sea water. This issue also converges with that of the circular economy and more integrated management of water, drainage, waste and energy. Regarding all these issues the objective of our approach.

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