World Water Forum Closes with Calls to Action on Justice, Human Rights and Youth
UN Photo/Mark Garten
story highlights

The Eighth World Water Forum 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 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, while Judges and prosecutors issued the 'Brasilia Declaration of Judges on Water Justice'.

23 March 2018: 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. Participants, including Coca-Cola, Heineken, and Unilever, among many other companies, signed a letter of commitment. In their panel discussion on Monday, 19 March, participants had discussed the need for: promoting trust between companies and stakeholders in water management; generating quality information on water-related services; and considering the social and economic aspects of water and sanitation management.

The Citizen Process hosted a two-day ‘Junior Forum’ for the first time, attended by 70 youth leaders from around the world. The Junior Forum highlighted the importance of young people’s role in establishing water security, and issued its own call to action, which commits to organizing ‘Youth Satellite Events’ at future World Water Forums to engage youth in water governance and decision making.

WWF8 also introduced, for the first time, a Citizen Village exhibit, which more than 100,000 people visited, including 40,000 children. WWF8 took place in Brasilia, Brazil, from 18-23 March 2018. WWF9 will take place in Senegal in 2021 on the theme of ‘Water Security.’ [WWF8 Website] [WWF8 Closing Press Release] [WWF8 Programme] [Brasilia Declaration of Judges on Water Justice] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on WWF8 Ministerial Declaration] [Call for Action of the 5th Conference of Local and Regional Authorities] [Political Process Note: ‘About the Parliamentarian Process’] [WWF8 Story on Business Day] [Brazilian Business Council for Sustainable Development Press Release] [WWF8 Story on Youth Forum] [Announcement of WWF9]


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