• Marseille, the World Water Capital by Jean-Claude Gaudin

    Vice-President of the French Senate & Mayor of Marseille

    jean-claude gaudin

    As a 26 century-old city of trade with its arms open to the world, Marseille is proud to have been chosen by the Governors of the World Water Council to host the 6th World Water Forum.

    It will do its best to ensure that its guests effectively make it the “Solutions Forum”, the crossroads where measures providing answers to the major challenges of our planet are defined and adopted for a better management of the most vital of its resources.

    The experience of Marseille and that of Provence, in the water domain, is exemplary and it is not without good reason that the people of Provence have developed a real water culture over the years.

    For we have in the past suffered cruelly not only from aridity, but also from the whims of Nature itself. Happily since the decision taken in 1849 by the then Mayor, Maximin Consolat, to ensure that Marseille had an ample supply of water, “whatever the consequences, whatever the cost”, up until the commissioning in 2008 of “Géolide”, the largest underground water treatment system in the world, our city has acquired know-how and installations commensurate with its ambitions.

    Without doubt, this history and the exceptional link between the people of Marseille and Water incited the World Water Council to set up its Head Office here some fifteen years ago. We are equally happy since to have been able to support its development, and proud of the authority and the international recognition which the City has acquired in the service of the water cause.

    In defining the outline of the programme for the Marseille Forum, the 17th and 18th January 2011 will mark a new and important step in this process. I would like to promise its participants my fullest backing so as to make these two days a complete success.

    In this respect, I intend to underline the fundamental role of the local authorities in water management and the importance of Istanbul Water Consensus initiated two years ago during the 5th World Water Forum.

    With its thirteen twin city agreements and twenty eight cooperative agree­ments, Marseille is one of the most active in Europe in terms of decentralized cooperation and I would like to think that the 6th World Water Forum would give a sizeable place to these major “field” players in water policy, which is precisely the role that our towns and cities play.

    It would also seem to me essential that the 2012 rendez-vous in Marseille, be a real citizen’s Forum and we shall deploy all our energy to ensure that our fellow citizens are deeply associated with it, for the commitment of everyone is indis­pensible to make access to water, for all who aspire to it, a universal daily cause.

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