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The forum in Marseille will bring together representatives of governments and non-governmental organisations and scientists from over 180 countries, who will discuss the global challenges connected with water. The World Water Forum is held every three years and is organised by the World Water Council and by the government of the host country, which this year is France.
SDC director Martin Dahinden will head the Swiss delegation, which will consist of representatives of the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN), the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH), the Federal Office for Agriculture (FOAG), the State Secretariat of Economic Affairs (SECO) and the Sectoral Foreign Policies Division of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA).
Implementation of the human right to water
Climate change, the increasing population and changes in nutrition habits have transformed water into a scarce resource. Conflicts about cross-border water resources are intensifying. In 2010 the United Nations Human Rights Council declared that access to drinking water and sanitation is a human right. Nevertheless, 900 million people have no access to clean water, and 1.5 billion have no toilets, especially in neglected rural regions and slums.
The implementation of the human rights to water and sanitation at the national level is the subject of the sessions that SDC will be organising in Marseille, in close cooperation with Catarina de Albuquerque, the United Nations Special Rapporteur for this right.
SDC director Martin Dahinden, together with representatives from Spain and Uruguay, will head the discussion round for government representatives at the ministerial level. The purpose of these discussions is to exchange ideas about specific possibilities of implementation, for example by means of tariff regulations, and the implications of such measures.
The SDC will also be coordinating the working group on access to water. In the preparatory phase, more than 215 projects were collected via a web platform, all proposing practical solutions for improving the access to water. The best of these will be presented during the sessions at the World Water Forum and will be recommended as models for imitation.
The Swiss Water Partnership at the Swiss pavilion
In the exhibition part of the forum, the Swiss Pavilion will provide SDC partners and members of the newly established Swiss Water Partnership with a platform on which they can present their innovative technologies and concepts in connection with water problems to an international audience. On 15 March the WWF will publish its report on the Swiss water footprint. It will show where the water comes from that is consumed in Switzerland via imported products and services.