UN’s World Water Forum Closes With Calls To Action On Justice, Human Rights and Youth
The Eighth World Water Forum (WWF8) in Brasilia, Brazil has concluded. The conference, on the theme of ‘Sharing Water,’ comprised several parallel processes that affirmed the respective roles of judges, local and regional authorities, parliamentarians and young people in the governance of water resources. The Forum’s Political Process included a ministerial programme, a local and regional authorities programme, a mock “water court” involving judges and prosecutors, and a parliamentarians’ process. Water and sanitation ministers issued a Ministerial Declaration, which urges better coordination of UN activities in support of water-related goals, and encourages governments to strengthen their own national integrated water resources management (IWRM) policies and plans.
The 5th Conference of Local and Regional Authorities convened from 20-21 March as part of the WWF8 Political Process. In a call for action issued at the close of their meeting, authorities made five recommendations, to: promote sensitive integrated water practices, taking into account human rights and gender concerns; bring forward legislation for fair, efficient and sustainable use of water resources; strengthen and increase decentralized funding for water and sanitation projects; promote urban water resilience; and strengthen the capacity of local governments and citizens in water-sensitive governance. Their call to action commits to contributing to the fulfillment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the New Urban Agenda.
The Political Process also included mock court proceedings, referred to as the International Court of Justice for Water, and a meeting of parliamentarians. Judges and prosecutors issued the ‘Brasilia Declaration of Judges on Water Justice,’ which puts forward 10 principles for water justice, and affirms various policy frameworks, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and SDG 6 on clean water and sanitation. The Declaration calls for strengthening the capacity of judges and lawyers to apply water law and the environmental rule of law. The meeting of parliamentarians debated ‘The Role of Parliaments and the Right to Water,’ focusing on the themes of climate change and water security, universal access to drinking water and basic sanitation, and legislative innovation and best practices for water management. Speakers welcomed the presence of 134 parliamentarians from 20 countries at the conference.
Other processes that took place alongside the Political Process were a Thematic Process that hosted 96 separate sessions, a Regional Process that involved almost 7,000 people from 101 countries, a Citizen Process, a Sustainability Focus Group, and a Business Day.
On Thursday 22 March, participants from water and sanitation services in Brazil reported on the outcomes of Business Day, which was organized by the Brazilian Business Council for Sustainable Development and the Brazilian National Confederation of Industry. Business Day resulted in Brazilian companies making six commitments for water security: engaging supply chains; contributing technologies, knowledge and human resources; encouraging shared projects; measuring and communicating companies’ own water management practices; recognizing the importance of water in their business strategies; and mitigating water risks.