Thousands of people will gather for the 6th World Water Forum in Marseille, France between the 12th and 17th of March, 2012 in order to address the escalating challenges presented by water shortages, pollution, and population growth. And the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) – a leading conservation group – has announced that they will be on the scene to promote nature as the most effective solution.
The world’s largest water gathering
140 Ministerial delegations and 25,000 participants from 180 different countries will gather at the World Water Forum in order to address international water concerns. These participants will include politicians, policy makers, water engineers, environmental managers and community members.
It is the largest meeting of its kind, so IUCN is determined to convey how important it is to ensure that nature’s own mechanisms are honored as an important part of meeting present and future hydrological problems.
River basins, forests, lakes, and wetlands have unique processes that channel, filter, and purify water. “Building new infrastructure is not, by itself, an answer to today’s water challenges,” says Julia Marton-Lefèvre, IUCN Director General.
Nature is more cost effective
“Nature is a much more efficient and cost-effective solution. It provides the natural infrastructure that we need to store, move and filter water. At the World Water Forum, IUCN will work towards including nature as an integral part of the solutions and commitments to address global water needs.”
In the Middle East, we have seen a rise in water-based conflicts. Syria has already seen widespread desertions of dried up areas, Yemen is similarly affected, and some people think that this essential component of life is at the heart of the Palestinian and Israeli issue. And as climate change escalates, water resources will become even more valuable.
Water and climate change
“Our ability to respond to the effects of climate change depends on a healthy environment,” says Mark Smith, Director of the IUCN Global Water Programme. “With healthy ecosystems, nature can provide the infrastructure that we need to be more resilient to climate change. Water management that puts nature at the centre keeps clean water flowing from our taps and protects us from floods, droughts, erosion and other disasters.”
Although the potency of these gatherings has come into question after a string of Convention of the Party meetings culminating in Durban have largely failed to produce any meaningful change, IUCN intends to carry their convictions to Rio and beyond.
“IUCN has a strong message to send from Marseille to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development taking place in Rio in June, and then onward to IUCN’s World Conservation Congress in Jeju, Republic of Korea in September,” says Julia Marton-Lefèvre, IUCN Director General.
“Sound water management is fundamental for building a sustainable future. Only with a healthy and sustainable natural environment can we make our economies ‘green’.”
image via IUCN
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