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6th World Water Forum
Home Page  > + About the Forum > Bridging Divides

5th Forum: Bridging Divides for Water

The World Water Forum, the world’s largest water-related event, is organized every three years as a joint venture between the World Water Council and the government of the host country. After previous Fora in Morocco (1997), the Netherlands (2000), Japan (2003) and Mexico (2006), the 5th World Water Forum will be held in Istanbul, Turkey in March 2009. The Forum is an open, all-inclusive, multi-stakeholder process, which is the culmination of over two years of preparatory activities. In this way, the World Water Forum is not just a week-long event; it is a process which aims to raise the importance, awareness and understanding of water issues and propose concrete solutions to address global challenges.

Understanding divergent stances

The challenge faced by those involved in the organization of the 5th World Water Forum is to make it a turning point for water management in the world. This Forum must truly be different, and the organizers hope to achieve this by making the preparation of the Forum both open and participatory, and focusing on action. The 5th World Water Forum will thus aim to bring more to the world than merely ideas and debate amongst water experts; it will bring the world to Istanbul to improve our understanding of divergent points of view and allow us to share solutions.

Overcoming barriers

The 5th World Water Forum’s overarching theme, Bridging Divides for Water, has been conceived to achieve this purpose. It underlines not just the geographical crossroads between Europe and Asia, the Middle East and Africa, North and South, represented by Istanbul, but also the barriers between modern-age and traditional water cultures and uses, between rich and poor, and between developed and developing regions of the world. It emphasizes the need for greater interaction, communication and functional harmonization of the various entities involved in or affected by water management. It also sends out a message to the water community that water is not an end in itself, but rather a means for our development and well-being. Interaction with other sectors is therefore needed to understand how water can contribute to the solution of common problems faced by all affected sectors.

A different approach…

The 5th World Water Forum organizers will build on many of the achievements and components of the previous Fora, but will also innovate with a fresh new approach. This Forum will more than ever before be focused on priority issues emphasizing multi-stakeholder interaction. Indeed, the Forum’s preparatory process has aimed to channel participation towards identifying the 100 most pressing water-related issues of our time, which will provide the basis of the sessions being developed for the Forum.

…leading to real political impact

The Forum’s political process will employ a new dynamic of interaction with the thematic and regional processes, the outputs of which will become an essential input into the political component. This political process will involve local and national governments as well as parliamentarians, thus ensuring greater political commitment. Thousands of individuals and organizations from all over the world will take part in the preparatory process. With this multi-stakeholder preparation, added to political involvement and a focus on the key issues, the 5th World Water Forum will become a landmark in the long road to sustainable development.




Forum Ambassador

The organizers of the 5th World Water Forum are honored to welcome Prof. Klaus Töpfer as the official Forum Ambassador. More...