Mexico - 4th World Water Forum

Originally uploaded by wacondah.
Mexico is one of the largest cities in the world, with over 25 million people in the D.F. and surrounding areas. Host to the Tri-annual WWF, the city faces huge challenges everyday.

One key issue here is the lack of available resources: imagine the Aztecs and Mejica culture having their capital in a lake, all traffic and trade was done by boat: nowadays, this huge lake seems to be drained completely... and as a result the city is rapidly sinking away causing buildings to collapse etc... (also note that this is earthquake country).

Anyways, the Mexicans are very very friendly people, with "le sense du service", but also a bit of the "philosophia mañana".

4th World Water Forum in Mexico

Day 2 of the World Water Forum is coming to an end;
check out the pictures live on flickr

The Mexican forum is well attended with over 12OOO delegates from more than 120 countries. Opening statements by the Prince of Orange and L.Fauchon made a great impression on the participants.

Montezuma has not appeared yet, but this may happen tomorrow.

International media have largely focused on the publication of WWAP and Unesco's World Water Development report #2 which heavily underlines the urgency already expressed at the opening of the Forum: we all bear a collective responsibility in bringing more and better water to more people.

Tomorrow, March 19th is crucial day where the Right to Water will be debated:



World Water Forum IV in Mexico

U.N. Reports a Fifth of World Lacks Clean Drinking Water Despite Abundant Supplies

March 10, 2006

NAIROBI, Kenya — Mismanagement, limited resources and environmental damage have combined to deny 1.1 billion people access to safe water, a U.N. report said Thursday.

Sub-Saharan Africa is one of the hardest-hit areas, where ecological degradation, poor water management and a burgeoning population have led to water shortages exacerbating poverty, disease and drought, the report said.

The report was compiled by 24 U.N. agencies, who say it is the most comprehensive assessment to date of the planet's freshwater supplies.

Globally, diarrheal diseases and malaria kill around 3.1 million people a year. The U.N. said 1.6 million could be saved if they had safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene.

The report estimated that hundreds of millions of dollars in lost productivity and health care costs are lost each year because of poor water and sanitation. Meeting the U.N. Millennium Development Goal of halving the number of people without a steady supply of clean water by 2015 would save $7 billion annually, the report said.

Water pollution in China alone cost the country $1.7 billion in lost industrial income in 1992, the last year for which figures were available in the report.

In Kenya and elsewhere in East Africa, where drought is creating a hunger crisis, better water management could also save lives, the U.N. said.

"Good governance would certainly reduce the impact of drought," said Salif Diop, head of the water unit in the early warning and assessment division of the U.N. Environment Program. "Deforestation, overgrazing, not managing lakes; all those are factors that aggravate drought."

Water use has increased six-fold in the last century, double the rate of population growth, the report said. More water is needed for food production, which must grow by 55 percent to meet food needs by 2030. But private investment in water services is declining and financial resources for the water sector are stagnating, the report found.

The 584-page report, to be presented at the Fourth World Water Forum in Mexico City next week, says better water management by local authorities, the private sector and civil society -- not just by governments -- is critical.

"Good governance is essential for managing our increasingly stretched supplies of freshwater and indispensable for tackling poverty," said Koichiro Matsuura, director general of the U.N. educational and cultural body, UNESCO.

Source: Associated Press