GENERAL ASSEMBLY AND BOARD MEETING OF THE WORLD WATER COUNCIL
The General Assembly of the World Water Council (WWC) began 14 October 2009 with opening speech of Mr. Loic Fauchon, President of WWC.
"We are at the crossroad: whether water really become the common property if we will strengthen water governance and IWRM or we migrate down to horror of water crisis, if we go on the way of water monetization as before. The title of forthcoming water forum which will be held in Marseilles 2012 is "Change relation to water in the world!" The current financial crisis has more aggravated problem with water access for poor people. Therefore the aim of WWC and WWF is to strengthen public mobilization and access to decision-makers in order to keep water security in the changing world. For past years WWC has scored a success: we added twice the WWC members and now more than 160 countries are represented in the WWC. The political importance of WWC was sharply raised because the Council was transformed from "brain assembly" into "water voice" and as a result our communication now is not only on the branch ministers but on the national administrations", - Loic Fauchon had noted.
Philippe de Fontaine, Vice-President of the European Investment Bank, had raised the problem on the financial crisis impact on water management along with problem of investments increase into water sector. "We can't increase water price in these conditions but we have to cover water supply by more close involvement of all water users into economical water consumption. This will allow reduce the current balance of private and municipal and national capital investments, decreasing the demands load on the network and systems, and to reach the financial budget.
It is necessary to bear in mind need to create the national reserve funds in regard to climate change and expected increase of water deficit."
Mr. Van Kel Lim, Mayor of Incheon (South Korea) had demonstrated the municipal and citizens achievements related to sustainable water supply at the rate 270 liters/day per 1 person, and creating the favorable humid climate in the city. The long-term development plan has been developed taking into consideration that 80% of people in the South Korea will live in the towns in 2050 Because the South Korea will be the host of next VII World Water Forum the Vice Premier and large delegation (60 persons) from the South Korea attended the opening of Assembly.
Ceremonial signing of Agreement between the French Government - Ministry of Environment, Municipality of Marseilles, the trade chamber of Marseilles and President of the World Water Council regarding 6 WWF which will be held in Marseilles, 2012, and its guaranteed financing at the rate of 39 million euro was at the General Assembly.
The General Assembly approved the WWC main activities for next 3 years on the following themes:
Rights to water for water supply and sanitation are recognized already everywhere. Owing to communication between UN Commission on Human Rights and the World Water Council, more than 50 countries have inserted officially the Right to Water into their Constitutions and to the Water Law. Now the question is about development of this process, recognition of the right to water for food and also about promoting the ratification progress of UN Convention 1997. Strengthening the sustainable water use on transboundary waters is one of the important solution in the future period.
Working with local organizations and involving water users into dialogue. As a result of work at the 5WWF, the "Water Consensus" document was signed by 400 mayors from various cities, which is aimed to overcome water problems in towns and local communities, strengthening their power, attracting attention of national bodies, involving the water users initiatives and their own funds.
That process was greatly recognized by Rotterdam (Holland), Buenos (Argentina), Incheon and Seoul (South Korea).
Taking into consideration competition between water for food and water for energy and a need to transform this competition into cooperation, WWC has attracted attention of the water user organizations at all levels for their participation in dialogue and seeking consensus between water for irrigation, water for ecology and water for energy.
Adaptation to climate change is raised to decision-makers level. This issue took a high priority regarding water management and requires the appropriate adaptation plans will be developed and adopted by all countries administrations. Such work needs a broad discussion between decision-makers and organizations on climate and water management as well as dissemination of successful experience of countries that have progress in this sphere.
Always financial water infrastructure and its development were a very important theme that arose at the Forums in Mexico and Istanbul. Now it remained the same especially in connecting with global financial crisis. Communication with the Official development assistance (ODA) gave possibility to obtain a global vision of water investment effectiveness. Mechanism, which allows water investments growth to be more stable and permanent, was outlined. Increasing the donors’ investments here is important element of work and analysis.
Monitoring of water resources and water use requires special consideration as to further opportunities and effectiveness of current water use especially.
There was organized also a work of sections. Taking into consideration regional priorities, delegation took part in the session "Transboundary waters", where 2 meetings took place. Prof. Dukhovny, Director of SIC ICWC, showed the current situation in the Syrdarya Basin as a case of infraction of rights to water and existing agreements, and told that it is needed to initiate some measures for strengthening the rights to water for downstream countries with aim to save them from pressing of countries situated in the flow formation zone Particularly, it was proposed to strengthen work on development a guidance on implementation of international water law on the transboundary rivers on the following items:
- How to implement "equitable and reasonable right to water" when every participant understands this position according his interests;
- How to harmonize these positions with principle "don't damage";
- How to determine borders of transboundary waters sovereign use.
The right to water on the transboundary water sources has to be controlled by UN Security Council, moreover the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Chairman Brokmann indicated a need to strengthen the guaranteed water availability The success story of India and Nepal on the transboundary water use was presented. These countries have established a Board, and have recognized the ecological discharge, and have developed mechanism of public debates.
At the same time representatives from Lebanon and Palestine entered a complaint about violation of their rights by Israel and Syria. The representative of France informed that Government is at the end of consultation with Parliament about ratification of the UN Convention on the Law of the Non-navigational Uses of International Watercourses 1997 to which Spain has joined.
After finishing of section the workgroup meeting on transboundary waters was held where the memorandum "Water governance" directed to SIC ICWC has been considered. The workgroup members agreed to exchange with opinions about possible steps in this area, taking into consideration of discussions on the 5WWF and our suggestions.
The General Assembly has ratified amendments to the WWC Constitution concerning its tasks and vision. The WWC vision is formulated as the following:
- to serve as the key platform at the interstate level for strengthening of water problems understanding and searching ways for water governance improvement.
The following is added to the WWC tasks:
- to consolidate entities interested in water, and to facilitate implementation of effective water policy and strategy globally.
The General Assembly also approved the audit financial report.
An opportunity to be first speaker at the General Assembly session on 16 October 2009 was afforded to Mr. Shavkat Khamraev, Deputy minister on agriculture and water management of Uzbekistan. He emphasized the initiative of Mr. Islam Karimov, President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, about accession by country the water conventions of UN 1997 and of EC 1992, and his appeal to follow international water law Dr. Sh. Khamraev has spoken about efforts, which are undertaken by the Republic for improving cooperation within the region and with international water community in order to make water available for everyone At the same time he draw attention to the need of control by WWC concerning water situation in Central Asia meaning prevention of any activity that can lead to catastrophic droughts and floods, protection of irrigated land and environment against the energy egoism.
At the session the movie "Water is Life" produced by the film studio "Uzbekfilm", which had demonstrated successes and problems in water development of the country, was shown.
New composition of WWC Board was elected because of expiration of the term of office of current WWC Board. 73 candidatures were presented for 25 existing seats. As the result of voting, Prof. Dukhovny, Director of SIC ICWC, has prolonged his membership in the Board of Governors for 3d term by 203 votes against 240 possible.
At the last session of General Assembly, which was held under chairmanship of Prof. Dukhovny, Mr. Loic Fauchon was elected once again into the President of the World Water Council..
Director of SIC ICWC, Prof. V.A. Dukhovny