First Edition of the Global Water Conference
October 10, 2013 - Barcelona, Spain
Ensuring universal access to safe and quality water, managing sustainably the resources and reinforcing its global governance represent crucial stakes at the international level. Overcoming these challenges will allow to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by targeting a cut off of at least half the people who do not have access to fresh water and wastewater treatment by 2030.
Water is a vital resource for the Humanity. Challenges linked to global warming, urbanization and demographic growth reinforce this preoccupation, in a context where the international water governance still needs to be defined.
Thereby, to better take into account the economic, social and environmental impacts of climate change in the management of water resources, the Global Water Conference would like to propose new concrete solutions which could allow the speeding up of the diplomatic process and most of all to foster the access to drinkable water for everyone.
But fresh water and saltwater issues cannot be analyzed apart from another. It is obvious that it is the same water that has been flowing on the surface of the planet Earth for over 3 billion years. For example, we cannot study watercourses pollution without wondering what their final destination is: the sea or the ocean. Thus, it seems relevant that topics associated with water resources preservation and marine ecosystems protection must be considered together since they are strongly interrelated.
Nowadays, the different kind of pollutions, the over-exploitation of marine resources, the destruction of biodiversity and marine habitats are jeopardizing the oceans and seas, which are fundamental ecosystems and gatekeepers of the natural balance of our planet. Yet, oceans and seas are endless sources of inspiration and innovation. They could bring many answers to sustainable development challenges; either in the energetic field, aquatic farming or even in preserving biodiversity. It is time to rely on innovation and new technologies for the exploitation of marine resources, that will open up access to new richness while preserving this living space.
In an approach of co-construction, governments, local and regional authorities, companies and civil society must work on the emergence of a new society: a “Blue society” based on a “blue economy”, promoting a sustainable and equal use of oceans’ richness. This “Blue society” has to be organized around new economic, social, environmental and governance models in order to improve living conditions of populations and change behaviors to achieve a fair distribution of the resources available.
The role of the Global Water Conference is to federate, within different fields, all the actors involved around issues related to water resources management, marine ecosystems preservation and the deployment of the huge potential of the seas and oceans. Also, the aim of these workshops is to promote innovative solutions and to foster the sharing of good practices and knowledge.
Water and Oceans at the center of the Planetworkshops’ works:
The Planetworkshops deal for many years with the different stakes linked to water issues, working around the solutions for water preservation, around innovations to favor a better access to drinkable water and finally around the news collaborations that are needed in order to achieve water security everywhere on Earth.
Water and oceans also occupy a large part of our works. We have set in 2011-2012, in partnerships with Green Cross France, Nausicaa and Tara Expeditions, a working commission on the emergence of a “Blue Society”, a new type of society based on blue economy and in which oceans are placed at the center of daily preoccupations, in order that every citizens on Earth could benefit from its richness while conserving this world heritage for futures generations. Also, at the occasion of the 8th Planetworkshops Global Conference organized on last June at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, we have dedicated a whole focus session on the special role that oceans can play in a successful transition.
Facing the gigantic stakes that characterize water and oceans today, we have decided to dedicate a special forum on these issues, as drinkable water and salt water can’t be thought independently from each other, the same water circulating on Earth since 3 billion years.
Favoring the emergence of a Blue Society
Water and marine ecosystems are inexhaustible sources of inspiration and innovation that could bring numerous solutions to the challenges of sustainable development. They could bring many answers to sustainable development challenges; either in the energetic field, aquatic farming or even in preserving biodiversity. It is time to rely on innovation and new technologies for the exploitation of marine resources, that will open up access to new richness while preserving this living space.
This « Blue Society » should be organized around new economic, social, environmental and governance models, in order to improve living conditions of populations and to make change behaviors to achieve a fair sharing of oceans richness.
« Water without borders ? Utopia or reality ? »
The forum’s program, organized around this central theme, is composed by two Plenary sessions, three focus sessions and a cycle of presentations.
Impacts of climate change on the water cycle, water preservation, responsible use of marine resources for a sustainable and blue growth, remodeling of coastal zones and conservation of marine biodiversity will be at the center of the discussions during this first edition. Internationally recognized personalities will come and share their vision and their expertise around these major issues.
Federating the actors involved in water management, marine ecosystems preservation and the deployment of the enormous potential of the seas and oceans
In Barcelona, the Planetworkshops will gather local and international actors that will be thinking together around the major stakes that characterize water and marine ecosystems. The diversity of participants (companies, public authorities, NGOs, researchers, experts, students) and the pooling of their networks will enrich considerably the debates. The Global Water Conference, real platform of exchange and valorization of existing solutions, will allow to present and share good practices and innovations.
In this prospect, the Global Water Conference is thought as a space of dialogue and exchange open to all and gathering international decision-makers involvement in a more responsible management of water and marine resources. Thanks to a trans-disciplinary approach, the Planetworkshops wish to include in the discussion a large panel of stakeholders involved in the preservation of these resources. This first edition of the Water and Sea Workshops will keep the transversal approach and the friendly atmosphere that have made the success of the Planetworkshops. The Planetworkshops will preserve its profound identity : a friendly place for thinking, a platform for sharing and highlighting concrete and existing solutions.
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