On 30th and 31st May, more than two hundred local and regional leaders and experts in water and sanitation have launched the "Political Process of Local and Regional Authorities" of the 6th World Water Forum, that will be held in Marseille from 12 to 17 March 2012.
The international conference, co-organised by UCLG and counting with the presence of many African local elected officials, has been the opportunity for local and regional leaders to focus on the importance of following the involvement made on the occasion of the Istanbul Water Consensus adopted in 2009. Thanks to this Consensus, 690 cities have already acknowledged that access to a good quality water and sanitation is a fundamental right for all human beings and have acknowledged water as a public good that should remain under the strict control of public authorities, independently of the service being managed by the private sector or not.
In his opening speech, the UCLG President Kadir Topbas, represented by Mr Segul, Councillor from Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, has recalled that the local level is in a privileged position to response most adequately to the needs and expectations of citizens, communities and territories, and that it is the most accountable to them and the most likely to react. He reaffirmed his willing to consolidate the Istanbul Consensus and recalled the importance of the United Nations Resolution adopted in July 2010 stating that water is a public good that should be under the control of public authorities, event if its management is partially or fully delegated to the private sector. He finally advocated for a central place of local governements in the architecture of the World Water Forum in 2012.
The elected officials that have attented expressed their willing to be at the centre of the next World Water Forum in order to showcase the greater role of local governments in the water and sanitation governance. The elected officials from developing countries have focused on reinforcing decentralisation and the transfer of financial means, and on the enhancement of technical capacities through the setting up of technical trainings for local practitioners.
In his final sum up, Serge Lepeltier, Coordinator for the Local Authorities Process, has expressed his wish that local authorities networks and in particular UCLG organise a support to local and regional governments before the World Forum in Marseille so that they understand better how to implement better the Istanbul Water Consensus.