Half the population lives in cities, with 3 million arrivals in the urban areas each week. During the next two decades, almost two thirds of humanity will live in cities, delegates at a three-day event held in Cape Town to celebrate World Water Day (DMA), said.
This year, World Water Day focuses on water supply in urban areas.
More than a thousand representatives from more than 30 organizations met in South Africa to discuss the challenges of urban water and opportunities facing the world today. It is hosted by South Africa in collaboration with UN-Water, the African Ministers Council on Water (AMCOW), the Secretary General's Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation (UNSGAB), UNEP and UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat).
In Africa, where the urbanization rate is the highest and urban dwellers worldwide is expected to double over the next 20 years, water has been declining since 1990. AMCOW emphasized the opportunities offered by the Conference of African Ministers, mayors, civil society organizations and representatives of development banks and the private sector to discuss how they can move faster and more effective in reducing this gap and achieve the Millennium Development Goals. The critical need for cooperation and communication between sectors and the need for visionary leadership to manage the planet's resources limited water are recurring themes.
Conference sessions covered topics as varied as how cities can decentralize the management systems of urban water to make them viable, the role of water in the green growth in urban areas, and how cities can solve the sanitation in informal settlements and the burgeoning slums. "Urbanization, a greener world and fight against climate change - these are the three questions that virtually every session focuses on one way or another," says Margaret Catley-Carlson, Chair of the Global Crop Diversity Trust.
Many speakers stressed the need to abandon the "old model" of water management and thinking "business as usual." I see a transition of people to be consumers of water for the people that the guardians of the water. We must manage water as a stream rather than actions of one, "said Anthony Turton, Director of Touchstone Resources, a company based natural resource management in southern Africa, during a roundtable Bank Global partnerships across sectors public and private.
The privatization of water services is a controversial issue in the past, when trying to stir up protests in Bolivia and South Africa. Last year, the African Development Bank recommended privatization the only way to reach the continent's water and sanitation needs. However, Richard Makola, director of the South African Water Crisis Committee, reportedly said privatization "a new form of apartheid."
"I think the question of who owns and who provides the service is well below what it was," said Julia Bucknall, head of the central body of water at the World Bank Energy Transport and Water Department. "There are some basic foundation for good governance of water that must be respected, regardless of who owns them."
An example of an innovative public-private, received a cautious welcome is the franchise of purification. Provides a standardized format that divides business processes into a set of well-defined problems, can expand the limited number of engineers and scientists in developing countries and help ensure financial support, supporters said.
Not everyone was convinced. An audience member at Coca-Cola, commented: "When you talk about franchise, you're talking about the fear of uncertainty Investment Investment When you talk about water as a human right, investors get nervous about the franchise model has been successful in providing ... everything from hamburgers to coke, but it requires a degree of certainty of working. "
The challenges faced by the water was uncontroversial - too much, not enough for the dirty, rain falls in the wrong place or at the wrong time - and most speakers were optimistic that technological innovations can be found for treated. Ultimately, the real challenges in the management and implementation. "The challenge of urban water is to be recognized for what it really is - a crisis of governance, weak policies and poor management, rather than a crisis of scarcity," said Prince Willem UNSGAB -Alexander of the Netherlands.
Complexity of the sector was a challenge and an opportunity to build a world in which treated water, energy, environment and development as one. "Water does not require more than one capacity Water engineers, chemical engineers, designers, architects, as well as lawyers, ambassadors, and political ... - We need all of them can not fix the water in one shot ' a very complex area that requires a lot of addiction, "said Alioune Badia, Regional Director for Africa and the Arab countries of UN Habitat.
"The essence of water for development is increasingly evident, and this conference shows that," she said. "Water supply and sanitation is extremely important, but water is also important energy security, food security and basic security in cities. Thus, we see this integrated vision of water as a central element of the development of new, more and more. "