Nature’s a solution to global water needs, IUCN

06 March 2012 | News story

Media Advisory: Water resources are under increasing stress: with burgeoning populations, growing economies and a changing climate, water scarcity and pollution are set to intensify.

Nature – in the form of river basins, forests, lakes and wetlands – provides the infrastructure necessary to address this challenge. At the 6th World Water Forum taking place in Marseille, France, from 12 to 17 March, IUCN will make sure that natural solutions are central to addressing the water needs of today and tomorrow.

With 140 ministerial delegations and 25,000 participants representing more than 180 countries, the World Water Forum is the world’s largest meeting on water. It brings together politicians, policy makers, water engineers, environmental managers and communities.

Key Issues:

• Nature is a solution - “Building new infrastructure is not, by itself, an answer to today’s water challenges,” says Julia Marton-Lefèvre, IUCN Director General. “Nature is a much more efficient and cost-effective solution. It provides the natural infrastructure that we need to store, move and filter water. At the World Water Forum, IUCN will work towards including nature as an integral part of the solutions and commitments to address global water needs.”

• Nature and climate change - “Our ability to respond to the effects of climate change depends on a healthy environment,” says Mark Smith, Director IUCN Global Water Programme. “With healthy ecosystems, nature can provide the infrastructure that we need to be more resilient to climate change. Water management that puts nature at the centre keeps clean water flowing from our taps and protects us from floods, droughts, erosion and other disasters.”

• Cross-border water management - “Rivers often set boundaries between countries and cultures, giving rise to fears over water conflict,” says Alejandro Iza, Director of the IUCN Environmental Law Centre. “But diplomacy and wise resource management are a source of peace and cooperation. Better collaboration among countries sharing water is vital to improving water security and protecting nature.”

From Marseille to Rio and onwards to Jeju, South Korea - “IUCN has a strong message to send from Marseille to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development taking place in Rio in June, and then onwards to IUCN’s World Conservation Congress in Jeju, Republic of Korea in September,” says Julia Marton-Lefèvre, IUCN Director General. “Sound water management is fundamental for building a sustainable future. Only with a healthy and sustainable natural environment can we make our economies ‘green’.

Press Materials and Events;

• IUCN opening statement, Monday 12 March
• Press briefing on IUCN project 'BRIDGE', Tuesday 13 March 11:00-11:30, room: Podesta - Pev B2
• Press briefing on IUCN publication 'Sharing Water Sharing Benefits', Wednesday 14 March 11:30-12:00, room: Podesta - Pev B2
• Press briefing on IUCN publication 'Water Wealth', Friday 16 March, 11:00-11:30, room: Podesta - Pev B2
• IUCN closing statement, Saturday 17 March

Media team:

• Ewa Magiera, IUCN Media Relations, t +41 22 999 0346, m +41 79 856 76 26, e
• In Marseille: Claire Warmenbol, IUCN Water Programme Communications Officer, m +41 79 404 1973, e
• Brian Thomson, IUCN Media Relations, m +41 79 721 8326, e

Photos are available at:


Bengal Tiger being Released into the wild from a boat in the Sundarbans