Fredrick Mugira
March 12, 2012

The six global meeting on water has got underway in Marseille France with high level speakers calling for concrete solutions to bring to an end water scarcity and wastage.

“We have been moving too slowly. We now need to accelerate,” French Prime Minister Francois Fillon said as he opened the sixth World Water Forum.

“The number of human beings who have no access to clean water is in the billions. Each year, we mourn millions of dead from the health risks that this causes. This situation is not acceptable – the world community must rise and tackle it,” he noted.

François Fillon, Prime Minister of France at the Opening Ceremony 12 March

Fillon further called for sustainable water management systems saying that in some cities around the world, 70 percent of water is wasted.

He explored countries around the world to share scientific knowledge and expertise to end climate change and water wastage.

Fillon also called for creation of an international agency that oversees environment which he named “World Environment Organization,” noting that if the world can have a “World Trade Organization,” why not have a World Environment organization also.

One of the photography exhibitions at the forum dedicated to water

Speaking during the same occasion, the Mayor of Marseille Jean-Claude Gaudin stressed that choice and time for solution to addressing water scarcity and waste in the world has come.

“The time for solutions, yes, means we must meet the challenges like climate change, irresistible urban growth, population growth, the depletion of a resource subject to ever increasing pollution and uncontrolled consumption, inequalities between rich and poor and disparities between dry and wet regions throw at us together, he noted.

In his speech, Prof. Benedicto Braga, President of the International Forum Committee called for rethinking of water issues.

“Water also deserves new thinking and concrete action. It deserves clear and transparent debates and adequate solutions,” he stressed.

He also advocated for inclusion of discussions on water during the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in June this year. Rio+20 conference will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on from June 20-22, 2012.

“As a process, the 6th Forum, is working in perfect alignment with the UN system to bring water into the discussions of the Conference on Sustainable Development Rio+20,” he noted.

Children from various schools in Marseilles perform during the opening ceremony

The one week of discussions, hot debates, solutions and best practice sharing in order to achieve concrete solutions and commitments for the cause of water has attracted over 25,000 participants from more than 180 countries.

Water Journalists Africa

Water Journalists Africa (WJA) is the largest network of journalists reporting on water in the African continent. It brings together some 700 journalists from 50 African countries. It was established in...

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