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Access to potable water right for all and condition for development

· The sixth World Water Forum opens in Marseille ·

The sixth World Water Forum opened in recent days in Marseille, where Government representatives, international organizations, local authorities, non-governmental organizations, ecological groups and businesses are meeting to search for answers to the increasingly pressing questions on how to guarantee all the people necessary access to potable water.

The organizers of the Forum underlined this theme which is crucial for human life and too often is not taken into consideration on the economic and global political agendas, despite the continuing signs of emergency and widespread troubling statistics provided by international institutions. The latest figures available to forum participants are those of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OCSE), according to which, the world need for water will increase by 55 percent by the year 2050, due to the population increase and the increase in urbanization. OSCE therefore states that it is necessary to soon devise a method to “use water in a rational way, in addition to establishing appropriate taxes, in order to discourage waste”.

Various ministers and a dozen heads of state, in addition to the president of the European Commission  José Manuel Durão Barroso will take part, strictly a political sense, in the Forum, where they will commit themselves to working towards common goals regarding access to water.  The hope of the organizers, and in particular the World Water Council which is coordinating the event, is that this message precisely affirms the ratification of the Convention of 1997 concerning transnational water, approved by the General Assembly of the UN, but still far from being shared by the international community.  This is a significant step ahead, even if only on a symbolic level, after  the United Nations in 2010 sanctioned the right to water access as an official right among those universally protected.

The agenda of the World Forum has not convinced everyone, especially the non-governmental organizations which defend the environment and human rights. These groups believe that the schedule is in favour of big business and international financial institutions. Thus nearly a hundred organizations arranged an alternative forum which will begin on Tuesday, 14 March, the eve of the World Water Day, and will bring together thousands of delegates from various countries.

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Aug. 17, 2019

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