International Conference unites Local and Regional Authorities to determine future of cities and water
How cities will prepare for the future was the pressing question at the forefront of the International Conference of Local and Regional Authorities for Water. The conference, held 21-22 March during the 8th World Water Forum in Brasilia, brought together hundreds of local and regional governments to share their experience, achievements and solutions in relation to water issues. Co-organized by the World Water Council, UN Habitat through its Global Water Operators Partnerships Alliance, ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability, the Secretariat for Federative Affairs of the Presidency of the Federative Republic of Brazil, United Cities and Local Governments, and the Confederação Nacional de Municípios, the conference emphasized the importance of sustainable water management to pave the way towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) by 2030.
Cooperation on improved water and sanitation services and multi-level governance on water is essential to securing water and sustaining a new urban future. In light of the need for immediate action on water-related issues to reduce widespread water crises, the World Water Council has released a guide, Start with Water: Putting water on local action agendas to support global change. This guide seeks to provide strategies and support to help cities make concrete contributions to global agendas. Presented as a set of eight recommendations, which detail water management, decentralizing finances, and urban risk planning, among others, in addition to incorporating concrete examples from around the world, the first-of-its-kind guide was launched during the International Conference of Local and Regional Authorities for Water.
During a panel with global mayors following the LRA conference, winner of the Stockholm Water Prize, Rajendra Singh, explained the importance of caring for water, “If we respect the local community and local government and teach them to take responsibility, they will understand prosperity must begin with love, affection and respect. I learnt by working with my community that change becomes possible. I can say today there is reverse migration, millions of people are returning to rural areas, returning to agriculture, and enjoying life with happiness. I don’t know what impact I had on the local GDP, but I know what the impact on my community’s happiness has been. Water creates happiness, peace and prosperity within a community. But for this, water needs to be treated with love and affection and respect.”
Promoting water’s vital role in the well-being and survival of our communities is paramount. Convening mayors and local authorities during the 8th World Water Forum, igniting discussions and providing guides, plays an essential role in placing water at the top of agendas and improving global water security.
Founded by the World Water Council, the World Water Forum represents an international meeting point to discuss water-related problems and find solutions for the world’s most pressing water issues, including for Local and Regional Authorities. The 8th World Water Forum, taking place in the Brazilian capital, Brasilia, is being held under the over-arching theme of “Sharing Water,” in light of water’s role in uniting communities and tearing down barriers and began on March 18 and will run until March 23. The World Water Council welcomes those from every corner of the globe to join the world’s biggest water-related event, bringing together heads of state, ministers, high-level decision makers, water experts and professionals, local authorities and academics. The World Water Forum places water firmly at the heart of global development and calls on citizens to act to ensure a sustainable future.