“Water Forums are crucial meetings for all of us: it is the moment to return water where it belongs on the international agenda, in first place”, said French President Nicolas Sarkozy, at the official opening of the 6th World Water Forum kick-off meeting.
Nearly 400 international participants gathered in Paris and Marseille from 2-4 June 2010, to launch the 2-year preparatory process for the 6th World Water Forum. France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy officially opened the meeting with a reception at the Elysée in Paris, on June 2nd. The official Paris opening was followed by 2 days of roundtable discussions and workshops in Marseille, determining common aspirations and priorities for the 6th World Water Forum.
Building on the outcomes of the 5th World Water Forum which took place in Istanbul in March 2009, participants identified important themes and issues which will form the work programme of the 6th World Water Forum in Marseille in 2012. It was recognized that the focus on solutions to the world’s major water and sanitation challenges will dominate the Forum, along with the different outlines of achieving these solutions.
The 6th World Water Forum, organised by the World Water Council, will strive to be the “Forum of Solutions.” The development process will aim to find solutions by first identifying targets for priority issues. This approach will consequently create greater linkages between regional and thematic political processes.
Dr. Mark Smith, Head of the IUCN Water Programme, noted during the workshops that the IUCN Water Programme “is well placed to provide input and knowledge into finding solutions for water challenges, as that has been the work of IUCN’s Water and Nature Initiative (WANI) for the past 10 years. WANI has been working in more than 30 countries across the world, on natural solutions to water management challenges in order to mainstream environmental issues in water resource planning, for the benefit of people and nature.”
As was the case for the IUCN Water Programme at the 5th World Water Forum, IUCN will play an important role in the planning and designing processes towards the 6th World Water Forum in Marseille in 2012. Outcomes and decisions will further facilitate and pave the way to influencing processes for the Rio+20 Earth Summit in Brazil later that year.
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