Water Forum ministerial declaration fails to respond to water, sanitation crises

15 March 2012

Marseille - The Ministerial Declaration issued yesterday at the ongoing World Water Forum has failed to rise up to the challenges posed by the global water crisis, says Green Cross International President Alexander Likhotal.

“Contrary to the slogan of the conference, Time for Solutions, the Ministerial Declaration fell short exactly on solutions and is devoid of any serious, concrete plan to cope with the global water crisis,” says Dr. Likhotal. “It demonstrates that the international community needs a more effective system to manage the water challenge, not triennial talkfests that achieve very little, if anything at all.”
 
The Forum’s official opening by French Prime Minister François Fillon, who focused on the need to change the economic system in order to resolve the water crisis, raised the expectations of all participants. 
 
“However, this declaration, being an exercise of consensus, resulted in a weak and watered down document,” Dr. Likhotal said. “This declaration should have been much more ambitious and offer concrete, already recognized solutions to address the global water crisis, which includes almost 800 million people living without access to safe drinking water and 2.5 billion lacking appropriate sanitation.”
 
“This declaration only serves to state the problems and challenges, but provides no roadmap or tools to help people living in water scarcity to attain their most basic of human rights, that being access to water,” Dr. Likhotal says. “It offers only a weak call to ‘accelerate and intensify’.”
 
“The outcome of this event, which has attracted thousands of people to Marseille at great financial and environmental costs, confirms what Mikhail Gorbachev said at the opening session that the ‘World Water Forum has so far failed to become a driving force for breakthrough solutions’.”
 
“With such a declaration, there are good chances that World Water Forum 6 goes down in history – along with its predecessors – as proving to be inadequate and unable to respond to the global water and sanitation crises,” Dr. Likhotal said.
 
“I hope the upcoming UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in Brazil in June will provide stronger outcomes for water that will compensate for the lack of substance in the Ministerial Declaration that has been adopted in Marseille.”
 
Green Cross, founded by President Gorbachev, focuses on the nexus between environment, development and security. Its Water for Life and Peace Programme actively promotes ratification of the UN Watercourses Convention and implementation of the UN-recognized Right to Water and Sanitation. Green Cross also installs systems to provide sustainable water supplies and hygiene services in communities in Africa and Latin America. GCI is an independent non-profit and nongovernmental organization headquartered in Geneva and present in over 30 countries.
 
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