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6th World Water Forum Adopts Marseille Declaration

17 March 2012: The 6th World Water Forum, which was organized around the theme “Time for Solutions,” concluded with adoption of the Marseille Ministerial Declaration. Key issues addressed during the Forum included: access to drinking water and sanitation; contributions to a green economy; resilience and adaptation to climate change; and governance and financing.

The Forum, which took place from 12-17 March 2012, in Marseille, France, brought together stakeholders from around the globe to address technical, legal, financial and policy aspects of water management, focusing in particular on sustainable development. The Forum also included: a Ministerial level session to conclude negotiations on the Marseille Declaration; Regional Trialogues involving Ministers, Parliamentarians and local and regional authorities to focus on challenges requiring multi-level governance solutions; and high-level roundtables to provide forums for dialogue between Ministers and stakeholders.

The Ministerial Declaration reiterates the commitment of governments to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) related to clean drinking water and sanitation, and highlights the contribution of water to a green economy. Ministers underscore that improved energy efficiency in water and sanitation services can contribute to greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction, they support the Sustainable Energy for All initiative, and they acknowledge hydropower, consistent with sustainable development principles, as a viable renewable source of energy.

On climate change, the Declaration recognizes the need to build resilience to climate change and variability through integrated land and water resources management and highlights the need to develop and strengthen national and transboundary disaster prevention and response strategies.

The Declaration calls for the following priorities to be addressed, in particular at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20): accelerating the implementation of "human right obligations" relating to access to safe drinking water and sanitation; interlinking water, energy, and food security to ensure policy coherence to avoid adverse consequences; and incorporating water in all its economic, social and environmental dimensions in a framework of governance, financing and cooperation. Other Forum outputs include stakeholder commitments, forum statements, a solutions toolkit and the Marseille Framework for Action. [6th World Water Forum Marseille Ministerial Declaration] [6th World Water Forum Website] [UN/ISDR Press Release]