Seoul, South Korea
The 7th World Water Forum took place from April 12th to 17th, 2015 in the cities of Daegu and Gyeongju in South Korea, with the participation of thousands delegates from around the world.
Coordinated by the French Water Partnership (FWP), the French pavilion has been praised by visitors as one of the most attractive exhibitors of the Forum’s expo. It was also one of the most dynamic, like the 200 members composing the French delegation.
For five days, the “France water team” participated in the three components of the political process - ministerial, parliamentarian, and local and regional authorities, and in 51 thematic sessions out of a total of 104, and co-hosted the Regional Process Europe. On the French Pavilion, it has also deployed its collective expertise in 13 events.
FWP has also co-hosted with Cercle Français de l’Eau (French circle for water) and the Association Internationale des Maires Francophones (international association of French-speaking mayors), a breakfast event on April 14th 2015, focusing on two major themes for 2015: the Post-2015 Development Agenda and Climate.
On April 16th, the PFE hosted the closing ceremony of the French Pavilion, with a video exclusive of the French Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy, Ségolène Royal. Royal declared that « Water must be at the heart of the preparatory works of the Post-2015 Development Agenda and the UN Conference on climate, Paris 2015». She praised the work of the 200 members of the French delegation that have delivered the messages from France to South Korea, and she invited them to join her at the COP21, a key for climate and water that will take place from November 30 to December 11 in Paris. (see the videoa at the end of this post)
On behalf of Henri Bégorre, President of PFE, Philippe Guettier, CEO of PFE, thanked his team and all those who have contributed to the success of the French Pavilion, recalling the necessity to keep disseminating the French know-how in the field of water, on the national and international scene, through the mobilization and valorization of the PFE’s multi-stakeholder, multidisciplinary expert network.
PFE’s assessment of the 7th World Water Forum
As a continuation of the former Water Forum in 2012 in Marseille, which was dedicated to solutions, this South Korean Forum was focused on their implementation, through action and innovation.
The Political Process has allowed a positive development, by reaching a consensus on integrated management of water resources based on watersheds, for which France has developed world-renowned expertise. As a reference framework bringing together all involved stakeholders, and a platform associating all forms and uses of water, watersheds provide the right perimeter for the implementation of actions in favor of sustainable development and climate. In this area, France intends to position itself as a must experience.
Launched on the occasion of this 7th Forum, the Science and Technology Process was an opportunity to promote South Korea’s approach, and was a great success, particularly for to the Asian audience.
The assessment of the regional and thematic processes is mixed, due to low international participation.
In the sidelines of the main Forum, the Citizen’s Forum was not sufficiently valued. Nevertheless, it was marked by a strong participation of the youth, who now stand as a new voice that counts, and who should find their place at the next Forum in Brasilia in 2018, as well as civil society.
The 8th Water Forum 2018 will therefore be a continuation of this South Korean Forum, based on a proactive continuum, decided by the World Water Council and the organizers of the Forum of Marseille, Daegu and Brasilia.
Benedito Braga, President of the World Water Council said “The 7th Forum has demonstrated that it is the place where world leaders in the water community come to mobilize political action.
“The pledges made during the 7th Forum will be carried to New York as a major contribution to the adoption of a Sustainable Development Goal on water.
“A clear commitment has emerged from this week: to carry forward an agenda for action that will send a clear signal to the world: we know what needs to be done, and we are getting on with the job.”
On April 13th, 2015, a strong political declaration was made by all environment and water ministers participating in the Forum's Ministerial Process. The key messages of this declaration relate to the reaffirmation of the human right to water and sanitation, adopted in 2014 by the UN General Assembly, and the consideration of water as a major area affected by climate change in the international agenda. Ministers supported a specific paragraph on the integration of the water into the pillar "adaptation" at the COP21. Alongside the Ministers of Denmark and the Netherlands, France recalled its commitment to defend the cause of water, and relay at the highest political levels the messages of this Ministerial Conference in preparation for the COP21.
The French Water Partnership (FWP) is the French platform for discussing and exchanging ideas that help to place water at the top of the global political agenda, and promoting, at global level, multi-stakeholders solutions to water related issues, through the dissemination of the collective know-how of French water players throughout the world.