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What the 6th World Water Forum seeks to achieve

Babatope Babalobi

The sixth World Water Forum kicks off next Monday in Marseilles, the second largest town in France, with the theme: ‘Time for Solutions’.

The  six day forum will address the most challenging Global water issues our world is facing today, from access to water for all and everyone to health, food security, energy, economic and population growth as well as climate change.

The UN-WATER Global Annual Assessment of Sanitation and Drinking water (GLASS) 2010 reports that only 62% of the Worlds population uses improved sanitation facilities, and over 2.6 billion people do not use improved sanitation facilities. For water supply, only 87% of the world uses drinking water from improves sources, while nearly 900 million people do not use drinking water from improved sources.

But this global figures masks wide regional disparities and variations.  For Nigeria, 2010 figures by the WHO/UNICEF,  shows that less than 50% of Nigerians use improved sanitation in 2008, while only between 50%- 70% use improved drinking water sources same year.

Delegates and participants in the forum will therefore be discussing these water related challenges, and set priorities as well as measurable targets to meet these priorities.

According to the International Forum Committee, the 6th World Water Forum the “four priorities the forum have set for discussion is ensuring water resources management contribute to everyone’s well being, contribute to economic development, keep the planet blue, and under the right enabling conditions”

A statement posted on, shows that the organisers of the World Water Forum are hoping that water resources will contribute to everyone’s well being if  national and municipal governments institute policies and programmes that  guarantees access to water for all and the right to water, improve access to integrated sanitation services for all, contribute to hygiene and sanitation through health education, prevent and respond to water related risks and crises, and  contribute to cooperation and peace.

The strategies and tactics of achieving the first priority that of ensuring water contributes to everyone’s well being is perhaps the most important and most healthy debated by stakeholders.

Towards achieving this priority, delegates to the forum  have set several targets for countries that are not on track, most of which are in sub Saharan Africa and Asia. The several sessions, workshops, and side events in the forum will focus on how to achieve these targets which include following:


  1. By 2050 whole population/communities (every one and especially children) use and properly maintain appropriate sanitary toilets.
  2. Reduce by 25% by 2020 the percentage of people whose wastewater is neither collected nor treated properly.
  3. By 2025, increase by 25% urban wastewater and excreta re-use in different sectors (agricultural, tourism, municipal uses, energy generation) where financially and culturally viable, and especially in water-scarce and drought-prone regions.
  4. By 2018, 50 countries have incorporated the water safety framework into their national water resources strategies, with a view to ensuring a coordinated and integrated water safety approach for drinking-water, the management and use of wastewater, and the management of recreational waters and water for irrigation.
  5. By 2015 at least 50% of countries report on total expenditures on water, sanitation and hygiene promotion, that include funding flows from governments, external sources and households, and have developed appropriate platforms for sharing experiences and coordinating actions on this process with the health and education sectors.
  6. By 2015, 30 additional countries will have established national policies and/or regulations regarding household water treatment and safe storage and point of use water treatment in schools; by 2018, 50 countries will have reached this target; the scale-up process will be based on a gradual and measurable increase of sound evidence of the public health benefits of this approach
  7. By 2015, 100 countries have adopted a national policy for disaster risk reduction and resilience and made it a local priority with a strong institutional basis for implementation.


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