International Water Forum at the United Nations
Building a global awareness and education campaign
The International Water Forum,
held in the United Nations in September 2011, brought together more than 500 people to take the first steps towards organizing a worldwide education and awareness campaign on the global water crisis.
The Forum was organized by the Chronicles Group led by Jim Thebaut, WaterAid in America Board member and distinguished film producer who has produced a number of documentaries about the water crisis.
Leaders of water companies in the US, Europe and Australia, leaders of NGOs and senior academics discussed how public education and awareness building could help to solve the global water crisis. The event highlighted the fact that urgent action is required to address current and future shortages of water that are already having an impact global security, global health and education.
One of the most frequently forgotten dimensions of the water crisis is the fact that 900 million people in the world do not have access to safe drinking water and 2.6 billion people do not have basic sanitation.
Dr. David Winder, CEO, WaterAid, America
Patricia Mulroy, general manager of the Southern Nevada Water Authority, who gave the keynote address at the forum, called for recognition of the fact that everyone's water supplies are interdependent.
Other panelists included:
Actress Jane Seymour, who promoted support for the
Senator Paul Simon Water for the World Act of 2011
Columbia Water Center Director Upmanu Lall, who highlighted the links between poverty, food, energy and water
Anthony Fellow, of the School of Communications at California State University, who called for the powerful use of photos and video to bring the water crisis alive
Charles Fishman, author of
The Big Thirst
, who proposed The creation of a
“Water Corps” in the US, similar to the Peace Corps
David Winder, CEO of WaterAid in America, participated in the Global Water Issues Panel and highlighted how many people in the world's poorest countries live without water and sanitation, saying: "One of the most frequently forgotten dimensions of the water crisis is the fact that 900 million people in the world do not have access to safe drinking water and 2.6 billion people do not have basic sanitation."
Dr. Winder stressed the importance of bringing together the energies and skills of NGOs, governments and the corporate sector to provide everyone on the planet with access to water and sanitation.
He called for support for the Sanitation and Water for All partnership, stating: "This partnership, which brings together key decision makers from governments, donors, development agencies and civil society, seeks to turn analysis into reform proposals, proposals into commitments and commitments into actions."
Dr. Winder concluded by arguing for increased public education on the scale and consequences of the crisis and the enhanced advocacy with national governments.
The forum created strong momentum and interest, which the Chronicles group will build on to develop concrete plans for developing greater public awareness of the global water crisis and solutions.
Jim Thebaut & Jane Seymour at the International Water Forum.
A highly successful advocacy day on March 23 was the culmination of a series of events organized to mark World Water Day,
at which WaterAid and partners celebrated progress in addressing the global water and sanitation crisis.
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WaterAid supports this legislation, which aims to strengthen US Government support for sustainable water programs.
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