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WATER: A right (not yet) universal

The planet is increasingly short of water and crowded with people, and “it’s time for solutions” that will ensure the universal right to “blue gold”. The route to achieving this objective will be the focus of the 6th World Water Forum, a non-governmental organisation created in 1996 and scheduled to be held this year from 12 to 17 March in Marseilles.

A total of 180 countries, 140 ministerial delegations and 20,000 participants will be attending over 250 sessions. Italy will be participating within the context of an Italian Cooperation design that attributes great importance to achieving Millennium Goal no. 17 on environmental sustainability, which also calls for halving the number of persons without access to drinkable water and basic sanitation services by the end of 2015.

The Marseilles Forum, and in particular the Italian stand, will distribute information on System Italy water programmes (Regions, local agencies, universities, civil society), and will allow the Directorate General for Development Cooperation to illustrate the many initiatives launched in recent years on behalf of developing countries with the involvement of Italian firms. Initiatives that include some highly-appreciated data-access programmes for a more rational use of water and regional confidence-building programmes to foster the shared management of resources. The Forum’s objective is to increase the mobilisation of the international community and public opinion on themes associated with water by placing them at the top of political agendas.

The principal result of the Forum, which will consist of 12 round tables dedicated to specific themes, will be the Marseilles Ministerial Declaration by which the participating States will agree on water’s central role, in connection with other issues, in food security, rural development and the growing energy demand. The adoption of States’ shared approach to the theme of universal access to water and basic sanitation services, will be a decisive contribution to achievement of the Millennium Goals, sustainable economic development and the transition toward the “green economy”. Moreover, the Marseilles Forum should conclude with the drafting of specific action plans to present at the Rio +20 Conference on sustainable development.

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