Water Forum Set for March in Istanbul

The 5th World Water Forum will convene in Istanbul, Turkey, March 16-22, to push the worldwide water crisis onto the international agenda.

Held every three years, the forum gathers parties from every horizon to find sustainable solutions to the world's water challenges. With more than 3,000 participating organizations and over 10,000 attendees, this year's forum will include international heads of state, United Nations' representatives, ministers, parliamentarians, local authorities and other government officials, as well as water professionals, activists, and other interested parties. During this year's forum, the United Nations' World Water Development Report will be unveiled, giving insight into freshwater resources.

According to the United Nations Environment Programme, two-thirds of the planet will live in water-stressed conditions by 2025 if present consumption patterns continue. “The ultimate goal of the 5th World Water Forum Istanbul 2009 is to motivate action to improve the world's management of water resources,” says Professor Oktay Tabasaran, Ph.D., the forum's secretary-general. “This can only be done by raising awareness of the importance of water-related issues. However, global awareness must be followed by actions such as legislation and funding, which are promoted through the forum.”

This year, through its Green Forum Initiative, the World Water Forum will plant one tree for every attendee. Additionally, the Istanbul Water Consensus identified “Champion Cities” united in commitment for urban water resource management in the face of global changes. The Champion Cities include Brisbane, Australia; Stuttgart, Germany; Vienna, Austria; Paris and Strasbourg, France; Rotterdam, The Netherlands; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Lausanne, Switzerland; and Istanbul, Turkey.