Page 1 sur 7
A review after the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannnesburg
TOWARDS THE WATER POLICIES FOR THE 21ST CENTURY
by Janos J. BOGARDI and Andras SZOLLOSI-NAGYInternational Hydrological Programme – IHP-UNESCO
H2o – mars 2003
Water is recognised as a key factor in sustainable development. Its direct links with human life society, poverty, natural disasters and ecosystem functioning render water a prime concern of the 21st century. Climate change, population growth, deterioration of water quality, scarcity and competition for this resource are the key challenges facing humanity. Therefore, comprehensive policies, based on common ethical principles and political will are needed to prepare humankind to face the "looming water crisis".
The 2nd World Water Forum (The Hague, March 2000), the International Conference on Freshwater (Bonn, December 2001) and the recent World Summit on Sustainable Development (Johannesburg, September 2002) clearly reveals the converging trend towards broadly shared principles and concepts to serve as the basis for national water policies and subsequent strategic and operational actions in national, basin and local levels. The "water world" is now encouraged to take a further step towards implementation. The forthcoming 3nd World Water Forum has a clear mandate: to guide the process from principles through policies to actions.
L'eau constitue un facteur clé du développement durable. Son implication dans les conditions de vie humaine, la pauvreté, les catastrophes naturelles et le fonctionnement des écosystèmes hisse l'eau au rang des principales priorités du 21ème siècle. Le changement climatique, la croissance démographique, la détérioration de qualité de l’eau, la pénurie et la compétition pour sa maîtrise est l’un des plus grands défis que l'humanité va devoir affronter. Des politiques d’intégration, basées sur des principes moraux et politiques communs, seront nécessaires pour surmonter une "crise de l’eau" qui apparaît éminente.
The World Summit on Sustainable Development
(WSSD) – popularly Rio + 10 – was held in Johannesburg between 26
August and 4 September 2002.
The popular media representation of
this mega event reflects a certain weariness with summits, declarations
and public commitments. Many critics pre-conclude that targets set in
Johannesburg will not be achieved and they are quick to refer to the
un-kept promises of the United Nations Conference on Environment and
Development (UNCED) (Rio de Janeiro, 1992) to prove the point. Yet,
human society has not produced more efficient means to reach political
consensus, to formulate and adopt policies, other than large,
international conferences, summits and meetings. In the series of the
serious attempts to secure the sustainable future of the planet and its
inhabitants, Johannesburg is thus the last event. Therefore, it is
worth analysing, irrespective of the short time passed since its
resolutions were negotiated and a declaration published, what impacts
we may expect as the consequence of this summit.
The present paper reflects on the influence of the WSSD on water policies for the new century.
of the primordial role of water in sustainable development and in the
sustainability of life and biodiversity, the WSSD cannot be classified
as an international event focusing on water. Out of the 170 paragraphs
of the WSSD Plan of Implementation, less than 30 refer explicitly to
water or water-related activities such as management, water supply,
irrigation and sanitation. Thus, the real impact of the Johannesburg
Summit on emerging water policies for the 21st century can only be
estimated as part of the sequence of water-related global events in
recent years. In fact, in the international context it is more precise
to speak about principles rather than policies as these later ones have
to reflect national, climatic and cultural aspirations and constraints.
Without going back too far in time, the water-relevant contribution of
WSSD should certainly be seen as embedded between the 2nd World Water
Forum (2nd WWF, The Hague, March 2000), the International Conference on
Freshwater (Bonn, December 2001) and the forthcoming 3rd World Water
Forum (3rd WWF, Kyoto, March 2003). This last event will ultimately
show how far the Declaration and Plan of Implementation of the WSSD
influence water resources management worldwide.
The WSSD, while
a full UN-led inter-governmental conference and summit, showed clear
signs of the development, or better, search for new ways of
communication between stakeholders and their respective
representatives. The gradual opening of the intergovernmental dialogue
to involve other stakeholders (NGOs) can be measured by the presence of
several thousand non-governmental participants and the multitude of
side events, organised by various combinations of NGO/IGO and
It is therefore not astonishing that next
to the official declarations, Johannesburg can be associated with a
large number of stakeholder statements (some much more explicit than
the official ones), as well as by the emergence of the so-called type 2
(non-negotiated, yet endorsed) partnerships involving governments,
IGOs, NGOs, the private sector and universities. The following paper
embeds thus the WSSD into the dynamic reality of the "water world" at
the turn of the millennium.
In this paper, the term "water
world" will be used to describe the microcosmos of those concerned and
dealing with water. In many respects it is not an exaggerated statement
that we are all citizens of this "water world".
After a short
review of the prevailing issues and the responses formulated by the
Ministerial Declaration of the 2nd WWF, the outcome of the Bonn
conference as well as the "water" component of the WEHAB
(Water-Energy-Health-Agriculture-Biodiversity) position paper will be
analysed, prior to an overview of the Johannesburg Declaration on
Sustainable Development and the WSSD Plan of Implementation. How far
would the WSSD influence water resources policies? How do they develop?
The paper will attempt to assess the state-of-the-art and outline the
Water policies are very much shaped by
international programmes and initiatives. Therefore, a sub-component of
the UN-wide World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP), the UNESCO-Green
Cross International "From Potential Conflict to Co-operation Potential:
Water for Peace" (PC>CP : WfP) project will be presented to
illustrate how to prepare the ground, secure the knowledge-base to
translate conference recommendations like the Johannesburg statements
and principles into practical water policies and actions.
Le dossier H2o sur le 3ème Forum Mondial de l'Eau de Kyoto