14 March 2012

Africa: World Water Forum Ministerial Declaration Fails to Respond to Water, Sanitation Crises

Photo: Zisize Education Trust
South Africa: A child pushes a wheelbarrow carrying water containers.

press release

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.

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