On the occasion of the 6th World Water Forum, held in Marseille from 12 to 17 March 2012, 350 local and regional elected officials from accross the 5 continents have met to increase international the mobilization of local and regional authorities on the issues of water and sanitation and to reinforce the commitments agreed upon in the Istanbul Water Consensus.
In the framework of the Forum’s political process, United Cities and Local Governments organized, jointly with the World Water Council, the 3rdInternational Conference of Local and Regional Authorities. With 12 thematic sessions, this International Conference presented the advances realized under the Istanbul Consensus since its adoption during the 5th World Water Forum in 2009, and allowed participants to exchange on key issues such as water and urbanization, cooperation and solidarity, as well as regional governance.
On behalf of UCLG and before the 1,450 participants in the political process, Co-President Muchadeyi Masunda, Mayor of Harare (Zimbabwe), reminded all of the constant commitment of UCLG toward water issues, as well as the support of the World Organization to the United Nations resolution on universal access to water. He also affirmed the need to reinforce the Istanbul Water Consensus and to fully integrate the issue of water in the climate change negotiations that will take place during Rio+20.
During the General Assembly of Local and Regional Authorities, local and regional elected officials decided to strengthen the political dimension of the Istanbul Water Consensus, developing in particular projects of decentralized cooperation, fostering the development of innovative financing based on solidarity, and ensuring the implementation of universal access to water and sanitation.
Throughout the days dedicated the local and regional authorities, the elected officials presented the concrete solutions they have implemented in the framework of the Istanbul Consensus.
Mr. Joan Clos, Executive Director of UN Habitat, highlighted the importance of increasing urbanization in developing countries, particularly in Asia and Africa. "Local authorities must organize themselves to ensure universal access to basic services for all citizens, particularly those living in peripheral cities and informal settlements." He called for a more human urbanization, and put the emphasis on the need to develop alternative models of urbanization, independent of city size.
Mr. Loïc Fauchon, President of the World Water Council, expressed his wish to follow local and regional authorities in the implementation of the Istanbul Consensus. He added that he was ready to personally follow up on the implementation of the Consensus: "The best governance for water is the one that is defined close to the citizens." Mr Michel Vauzelle, President of the Region Provence-Alpes-Cotes d’Azue (France), expressed his wish to see regional authorities reinforced in this process.
Mr. Serge Lepeltier, President of the Political Committee of the 6th Forum, Mayor of Bourges (France) and Ambassador, highlighted the importance of placing water at the core of the Rio+20 debates, in particular in the Ministerial Declaration, and he reminded the essential implementation of the right to water and sanitation.
In the framework of the 12 roundtables of the International Conference of Local and Regional Authorities, several local and regional elected officials shared their experiences and solutions on the key current issues: governance of water and sanitation services, management of water in megalopolises, prevention of conflicts linked to the water resources, culture of water in local governance, international cooperation and solidarity.
During this 6th World Water Forum, entitled "Time for Solutions", local and regional authorities showed their commitment to bring their solutions to the essential global issues of water and to reaffirm their key role in improving access to water and to sanitation.