The World Water Council announced today that the Third World Water Forum shall be convened in March, 2003 in Japan. The Council is currently holding the Second World Water Forum in The Hague, The Netherlands. The Forum, attended by more than 3500 people from around the world runs from March 17-22, 2000. The World Water Council is an international Water Policy think-tank established as a non-governmental organization in 1996. Its membership is comprised of national institutions representing two-thirds of the world’s population. Scores of international, United Nations and non-governmental organizations are also members.
The President of the World Water Council, Dr. Mahmoud Abu-Zeid made the announcement today. "The Council appreciates and acknowledges the generosity of the Government of Japan for graciously offering to host this important event," he commented. "There is a great deal of work to accomplished between now and the Third Water Forum building upon the results of the Vision for Water, Life and the Environment for the Twenty-First Century," continued Dr. Abu-Zeid. "The greatest challenge is to keep the momentum and maintain the spirit of the Vision."
Mr. Fumio Kishida, Vice-Minister of Construction of Japan in his address said, "Our commitment to finding solutions to the world’s water problems is an important pillar of Japan’s policy endeavours to make an international contribution. I therefore feel glad to be able to make a commitment to host the Third Water Forum which will be of a very great significance."
The World Water Forum is a triennial meeting that draws policy and decision makers from national governments, international, United Nations and non-governmental organizations, public and private sectors and scientists with interest in water issues. The main objectives of the Forum are to:
- Raise awareness among the decision-makers, the media and the public at large of world water issues of critical concern.
- Provide a platform to exchange views, information and knowledge on current issues and information related to global water.
- Extend the opportunity to the Council to promote its policies, findings and to share with other organizations common vision and interest in world water affairs.
- Present the state of the art knowledge on global water assessment, challenges and potential solutions.
The format of the Third Forum includes:
- Keynote presentations on the state-of-the-art of world water issues by prominent world personalities.
- Presentation of the Council work on world water policy development.
- Technical presentations on key water issues by selected scientists and water professionals.
- Posters presentation, seminars, workshops and symposia on specific topics.
- Technology demonstration and training sessions.
- Awards, prizes and recognition.
- Exhibits and displays of products, services and information.
- Study tours and local visits.
The World Water Council has been instrumental in raising awareness of the looming crises in fresh water that many countries currently or imminently face. "As we enter into the new millennium," said Dr. Abu-Zeid, "an estimated 26 countries with a population of more than 300 million people already suffer from water scarcity. Projections to the year 2050 show that 66 countries, comprising about two-thirds of the world population, will face moderate to severe water scarcity. The consequences of these water shortages on economic and social development, political stability and preservation of life are immeasurable."