8th World Water Forum Will Tackle Climate Change, Water Security, Trans-Boundary Water Management

BRASILIA, Brazil

The 8th World Water Forum, which will be held in Brazil in 2018, will take on climate change and other key issues including trans-boundary river basin management; dams and reservoirs; financing; universal access to safe drinking water and sanitation; and integrated water resources management, World Water Council President Benedito Braga told OOSKAnews this week.

“The climate sector has treated this theme (climate change) during the last 21 years from an energy point of view, emphasizing the need to reduce CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels,” Braga said.

“However, we all know that by and large the impacts of climate change are manifested through water. Longer droughts and more intense flooding are happening now under present climate variability.”

The forum will also include discussions on contentious issues such as “trans-boundary river basin management and its importance for national security; the important of dams and reservoirs for increasing water security; financing of multipurpose water infrastructure, such as hydropower generation, irrigation and navigation, for socio-economic development and poverty reduction; universalization of access to safe drinking water and sanitation; and integrated water resources management,” he added.

The 8th World Water Forum will build on progress made during the 7th World Water Forum, which was held in South Korea last year.

The 7th forum concluded with the signing of a roadmap for water security that offers a ready-to-use resource for governments in the areas of financing infrastructure, food security, green growth and governance, and other aspects of water security.

The World Water Council, South Korea and Brazil are charged with ensuring that countries deliver on actions under the plan, and its progress can be followed online to ensure transparency and accountability.

“The 7th World Water Forum facilitated a number of political agreements which mark a step forward in international water cooperation,” Braga said. “A lot was [discussed] about the need for participation and contributions from the international community to utilize innovative science and technology in order to ease water-related conflicts worldwide and move forward into an era of reconciliation and cooperation.”

International cooperation was a major theme of the forum, which saw the signing of several agreements, including one between the United States and Mexico on management of the Colorado River and another by the water ministers of China, Japan and South Korea to strengthen cooperation on water policy.

“We hope to have even more and more important agreements signed in the 8th Forum,” Braga said.

Braga, a native of Brazil, is Secretary of State for Sanitation and Water Resources for the state of São Paulo and a professor of environmental and civil engineering at Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Braga has also served as a director of Brazil’s National Water Agency (ANA).

“Brazil has made significant progresses related to water in the last decades,” he said. “São Paulo, for instance, it’s an example of how to solve a complicated crisis. The state managed to deal with a severe drought two years ago. We did infrastructure renovations, we changed people's behavior in relation to water use, we linked the supply systems. I’m sure other countries are interested in knowing what was done here.”

The 8th World Water Forum will take place in Brasilia from March 18-23, 2018.

A preparatory meeting was held in the city from June 27-29th. The meeting, which included members of the public, corporations, researchers, legislators, governmental authorities, and NGOs, launched the discussions that will guide the 8th edition of the forum.

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