Turkey to hold international forum on water in 2009
With a looming water shortage in many parts of the world, Turkey announced Tuesday it will hold an international conference next year to discuss conservation and management of water, which has become a massive global concern, dpa reported.
The fifth World Water Forum in Istanbul March 16-22, 2009, will be attended by world governments, and Turkey expected the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Environmental Protection Agency to be among the chief delegations.
The UN Environmental Programme (UNEP) has projected that two of three people will live in water-stressed regions on earth by 2025 if the current consumption pattern continues. It called for long-term programmes to make water consumption sustainable.
Some fear 36 of the 50 US states may face water shortage in the next five years, said Professor Ahmed Mete Saatci, a water expert and a vice secretary-general for the forum.
He said water consumption in the US by 2025 will be equal to 10 per cent of global water use. An US resident now uses 262 litres of water a day compared to a Dane's 150 litres.
Saatci told Deutsche Press-Agentur dpa that the preparatory conferences and the forum next year should insist on what he called the political process whereby national leaders, starting with heads of state, commit themselves to solving water-related problems.
"We want the politicians and the people together, and we want to talk to them, so we can solve the problems," Saatchi said. He said most of solutions could be found with local authorities, including mayors, who make the decisions and abide by them.
Klaus Toepfer, a former UNEP executive director and minister of the environment of Germany, said problems differ from one part of the world to another. But water consumption should be reduced throughout the world through management and conservation.
"The ultimate goal of the fifth forum is to motivate action to improve the management of water resources in the world, by raising awareness of the importance of water-related issues," he said.
"Collective awareness must be backed up by proper legislation, funding, governance and empowerment, all of which are promoted through the forum," Toepfer said.
Turkey expected an estimated 20,000 participants to the forum with the theme "Bridging Divides for Water." It said the participants will represent contrasting viewpoints, between supply and demand, rich and poor and the developed and developing worlds.