Water and development by Benedito Braga

President, International Forum Committee

benedito braga

At the beginning of this millennium we face challenges in some parts of the world that were faced by Europeans at the beginning of last millennium. Lack of water supply and sanitation produces infectious diseases and reduces life expectancy in the majority of countries in sub-Saharan Africa today. Lack of dams and reservoirs to cope with floods and droughts make poor countries in Latin America and Southeast Asia to lose 25 to 30 percent of their GDP in critical hydrologic events. Similar events produce losses 10 times less in the United States. This situation will become more complex if one considers that critical hydrological events will tend to be even more intense under the threat of climate change.

Water is at the center of improvement of quality of life. Water in adequate quantity and quality is the basis for any society to develop. Development with care for the environment and with care for societal and cultural values is fundamental for increasing GDP and per capita income. The provision of access to clean drinking water and appropriate sanitation requires the development of water supply and wastewater networks, water and wastewater treatment plants that generate jobs and income to workers. Hence, besides improving public health water generates wealth and contributes to reduce poverty in many places in the world.

Multiple uses of water are the basis of proper water development and management. We should look into the use of water to human and animal supply but also to generate electricity in a world with less carbon dioxide production, to navigate reducing gases emissions, to irrigate crops and produce food with adequate technology and handling, to increase the protein productions through aquaculture and, last but not least, to human leisure and tourism.

The 6th World Water Forum is going to address the major issues facing countries around the world, be them developed or developing countries. Our slogan is “Time for Solutions” very simple, short and direct. We have been diagnosing problems such as the ones described above for a very long period of time. This is a very important activity because no solution can be found without a good diagnosis. The previous forums have produced a very expressive amount of information on society problems and their relation with water. Now is the time for solutions, the time to bring professionals from different sectors together with decision-makers and discuss the way forward in an open and friendly atmosphere. We need commitments from all stakeholders. Governments are very important in the solution of our pressing problems, but now is time to involve also the private sector, the nongovernmental organizations, academia, professional associations and all those ready to extend the hand to help.

Welcome to Marseille in March 2012, welcome to this blue movement towards increasing the quality of life of those living in developing world. Let us work together to find solutions to our water problems that can be implemented in reasonable time horizons, that are social and economically feasible and that are compatible with keeping our planet blue.

Back to list

Bulle En

Post-Forum Highlights

The Forum outcomes

Submit your solution - solutionsforwater.org

Join our mailing list