The Third World Water Forum, an international conference on water, has opened in Kyoto, Japan this week. The Water Forum will run from March 16th-23rd 2003, and will address the growing world water crisis.
Around 10,000 people from 165 countries are expected to attend the forum, including a delegation from Islamic Relief. Taking place during the International Year of Freshwater, the conference will focus on global efforts towards conservation and sustainable use of fresh water.
Crucial issues include access to and management of water supplies, and the growing danger of conflicts over water.
According to the UN World Water Assessment, the average supply of water per person is expected to drop by one-third over the next 20 years due to pollution, population growth and climate change.
Only 2.53 % of the Earth’s water is freshwater - two-thirds of which is frozen in glaciers and permanent snow. This supply is now increasingly coming under pressure from agriculture, industry and a growing population.
The lack of access to water helps perpetuate the cycle of poverty in the developing world.
Approximately 20 percent of the world's population does not have access to safe drinking water. With insufficient water to drink, or for basic hygiene, or to cultivate crops, people in the developing world are left facing hunger, disease, and the loss of their livelihoods.
Future of Water
The Forum’s participants aim to identify concrete actions needed to solve the various water-related problems across the globe. The Forum will also set the framework for the G8 Meeting on Water in Evian, to be held in May 2003.
Islamic Relief has a long history of working in the water and sanitation sector, and recognises the importance of water in development and poverty reduction.