World Water Day

22 March 2011

Article from the newspaper « La Provence » (French)

“As the Consul of the Netherlands, a country whose very fibers are steeped in water, as well as being an inhabitant of Marseille, I am doubly proud of the choice of this city as hostess of the Sixth World Water Forum.. Eleven years ago, the Second Forum took place at The Hague, the under the banner “from vision to action”. And effectively, a global vision for water was presented, entitled “Water is everybody’s business”, along with a framework document for its implementation.

The Forum at The Hague was the first to be a ministerial conference whose final declaration defined seven key challenges, as follows: Satisfy fundamental needs; Ensure food supplies; Protect the ecosystems; Share water resources; Manage risks; Appreciate water for its real value; and manage water resources wisely (in other words: good governance). Later to ponder over the means to achieve them by common actions and individual pledges.

Over the following decade, the combined efforts of the organizers and participants in the consecutive forums have without doubt contributed to a general raising of awareness; water is now firmly written into the political agenda, as is shown by the recognition by the UN of the fundamental right to water. These challenges have not however lost any of their current importance.

It is for this reason that the Netherlands have not ceased to incite the Forums to focus on the implementation of the actions promised rather than seeking out new horizons.

That is also why we especially congratulate France and the World Water Council on the choice of putting the accent on solutions. As his Royal Highness, the Prince of Orange, President of the Forum at The Hague, concluded his opening address by saying: “At the end of the day, we will have to make a commitment, if we are to solve the water crisis. Our pledge is to achieve our vision, to set a sea change in motion. Let us make a difference. Let us make water everybody’s business!”

L. Génot,
Consul of the Netherlands

“I hope most sincerely that the 6th World Water Forum, which is to take place in Marseille, will be a frank success.

Japan already hosted the 3rd World Water Forum in March 2003. This was the first edition of this forum in Asia and brought together 183 nations and regions in the world. In all, nearly 24,000 people from 43 international organizations, debated 38 major themes such as” water and poverty” or “water and food”. It is therefore an immense joy for me, as the Consul General of Japan, to be able to welcome this event to Marseille 10 years after the meeting in Kyoto.

Nowadays, Marseille, flanked by the Durance and the Rhone, has the reputation of benefiting from a privileged access to water, but before a network of running water was constructed during the reign of Napoleon III, the topography of the area made access to water complicated. It was these circumstances which meant that today each inhabitant of Marseille is aware of the precious nature of water and the fact of seeing the World Water Forum take place in this city makes very good sense.

Japan had less difficulty accessing water and it is for this reason that many Japanese have the feeling that water and its safety are free. But in olden times, the Japanese did not forget what they owed to water for rice-farming necessitated great quantities of water and it was for this reason only that they were able to eat rice, their staple diet. Today, even if Japanese industry is a heavy user of water, how many of us continue to nurture this instinct?

The 6th World Water Forum in Marseille will also be an occasion for us to recognize once again the importance and the precious nature of water.”

Daini Tsukahara,
Consul General of Japan

“I thank you for your kind invitation to The World Water Forum which is to take place in 2012 in Marseille. As a Franco-Mexican, I feel particularly concerned by this extremely important event and I would be happy to be present in your midst on this occasion of great significance”.

Yvan E. Romero Foucaud,
Honorary Consul of Mexico in Marseille

“World Water Day reminds us once again of the crucial importance of water, representing as it does a fundamental need for humanity, a necessary source for sustainable life. After the 5th World Water Forum, which took place in Istanbul in 2009, I am especially pleased that for 2012 the nettle has been grasped by Marseille which possesses globally recognized experience in the water domain.”

Berris Ekinci,
Consul of Turkey

“We are proud to have been chosen and are working actively to make this 6th forum a success. Following the considerable progress made during the previous 5 forums, where each person made a large contribution to the challenge, more than ever, our planet needs concrete and credible measures.  Improving conditions of access and the use of water while preserving the resource, these aresome of the questions to which we need to respond. We should like real commitments to be proposed in Marseille.   “The time for solutions  is about the challenge that the organization of this 6th World Water Forum in Marseille has given itself.

In one year’s time, from 12th to the 17th March 2012, Marseille will be the World Water Capital”

Martine Vassal,
Deputy Mayor, Chair of the“Roots and Citizenship” Commission of the  6th World Water Forum in Marseille

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