Third World Water Forum concludes
By Khalid Mustafa
KYOTO: The third World Water Forum ended on Sunday with a commitment to curb escalating water problems all across the globe.
About 24,000 representatives from 182 countries participated in the event, which was held in the Japanese cities of Kyoto, Shiga and Osaka from March 16 to 23.
The issues that came under discussion revolved around balancing increased human requirements of water for health, sanitation, energy and environmental purposes.
All representatives agreed that community level public participation was fundamental to achieving the goals set out by the forum.
A press release said the Japanese Ministry of Land Infrastructure and Transport had supported the establishment of an International Flood Network (IFNet). IFNet will initiate a global flood warning system project with the capacity to create precipitation maps for the world every 3 hours, resulting in vastly improved flood warnings. The project will benefit 4.8 billion people.
The press release also said UN-HABITAT signed a memorandum of understanding with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to create a programme to augment the capacity of Asian cities to secure and manage pro-poor investments. And to help the region meet the millennium development goals of reducing by half the number of people without safe drinking water and basic sanitation by 2015. The programme will receive US $10 million in grants from the ADB and UN-HABITAT in the first two phases and US $500 million in ADB loans for water and sanitation projects for cities across Asia in the next five years.
UNESCO and World Water Council also agreed to promote, develop and support the establishment and operation of an independent body that can help solve trans-boundary water disputes by providing on request access to experienced technical advisors, tool training sessions and mediators.
The press release also said that Australia promised AUD $80 million in aid for water projects in the Asian-pacific region.