World Water Council (WWC) Vice President Benedito Braga is not among those who were disappointed in June's United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), and the profile of water issues in the outcome international agreement document.
Speaking to OOSKAnews during Singapore International Water Week on July 3, Braga, who is also president of the International Forum Committee of the 6th World Water Forum, which took place in Marseille in March, described the Rio conference as a success.
“It was the result of a lot of hard work that for the first time water and sanitation issues were discussed, and addressed in the final document of such a high-profile international occasion," Braga said.
This year's World Water Forum was an important stepping-stone on the road to Rio, according to Braga. “The pre-Rio collaborations between World Water Council and UN Water were important. While the UN is a statal organization, World Water Council can engage with, and represent multiple stakeholder groups on the water issues that are important to them."
The World Water Council is the organizer of the triennial forum.
"The high-level political participation in Marseille was also important," Braga continued. "At Rio, water was a full agenda item alongside other familiar issues, such as forestry and oceans."
He cited progress made at the conference towards acknowledgement of access to water as a human right. He said he was also impressed by how well the conference included and integrated civil society views and representations.
Braga believes that Singapore International Water Week is complimentary to the WWC’s activities, including the World Water Forum.
"Singapore is more about water industry, and water technology, which is vital, but not a primary focus of World Water Forum. The policy content here in Singapore is more regionally specific to Asia, rather than global."
Braga believes, however, that since the 7th World Water Forum in 2015 will take place in Korea, there may be a bigger role for technology content than at previous forums.