ATC171122: Report of the Portfolio Committee on Water and Sanitation at the 7th World Water Forum, Daegu, South Korea 12-17 April 2015 dated 22 November 2017

Water and Sanitation

Report of the portfolio committee on water and sanitation at the 7th world water forum, daegu, south korea 12-17 april 2015 dated 22 november 2017.

  1. Introduction


The purpose of this report is to provide feedback on the 7th World Water Forum that was attended by members of the Portfolio Committee on Water and Sanitation from 12 to 17 April 2015 in Daegu, South Korea. The conference was divided into three segments, namely the Ministerial, Parliamentarian, and the Local and Regional Authorities (LRA).


The Ministerial conference delivered the effective and action-oriented implementation mechanisms to achieve the Forum’s three action goals, namely water security for all; water for development and prosperity, and water and sustainability.


The conference for Parliamentarians provided the platform for legislators to voice their views and engage in in-depth discussions in the debate over major water issues and challenges in the 21st century.


The LRA conference was designed for local and regional governments to share their experiences, solutions and achievements in addressing water issues. Focusing on the implementation of the Istanbul Water Consensus (IWC), the LRA conference explored how the IWC action plans and tools can be utilised more effectively. It halso highlighted the importance of sustainable water management led by local governments in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as well as multi-level governance and financing for better water and sanitation services to bridge the existing gaps in the water sector. 




Mr M Johnson (ANC); Ms J Maluleke (ANC); Mr LJ Basson (DA); Mr T Manungufala (Committee Researcher)


  1. Ministerial Conference


Apart from delivering the effective and action-oriented implementation mechanisms to achieve the Forum’s action goals, the Ministerial Conference adopted the Ministerial Declaration (MD). The MD addresses the need to place water issues on the front line of global cooperation. It further acknowledges that water is vital in promoting sustainable growth, especially in developing countries, and also emphasised the fact that sound governance is needed in all aspects of the water-related process. This includes constructing physical water infrastructure and managing natural systems.


The Declaration also pledges to include water challenges as a separate item on the Post- 2015 Development Agenda, led by the United Nations, as well as to cooperate for a profitable result at the 21st session of the upcoming Conference of Parties (COP21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which will take place in Paris, France, around December 2015. The latter pledge derives from the fact that climate change and the water shortage problem are strongly correlated.


The Declaration also emphasises the importance of science and technology’s role in realising the solutions to the problem at hand, in line with science and technology that has been recently added to the Forum’s activities. It further stresses Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) as a means to achieving the smart management of water resources by sharing the latest technology. The Declaration explains that the process of sharing information will promote further cooperation among related parties, which will be helpful to developing countries in particular (refer to Appendix A for a complete Ministerial Declaration).


  1. Parliamentarians conference


The Parliamentarians conference was conducted under four plenary sessions, namely water and climate change, water governance, right to water and the ideal national water law. The Parliamentary conference culminated in the adoption of the Parliamentary Statement (PS), which was referred to as the principal outcome and is consensus-based, reflecting the priorities of the network of global parliamentarians concerning water issues.


In the first part of the three-part Statement, the parliamentarians acknowledge the critical role of a legal framework for implementing policies. It outlines the challenges facing the water sector, such as the catastrophic consequences of climate change that some countries are already experiencing and the potential conflicts that may emanate from the use of shared water resources.  The second part of the Statement is an expression of the determination to support action on water challenges. It advocates  for decentralised cooperation in dealing with water issues and the need to allocate financial resources for water security. The final section is a commitment to keep water as a central component of COP21. It further acknowledges the close relationship between climate and water problems, and also pledges to secure more drinking water and sanitation resources.


Parliamentarians agreed that water determines the existence of human beings and it is their responsibility to secure clean water and manage it for sustainable development. Last but not least, Parliamentarians envisage that the Statement will be implemented and expanded throughout the world (refer to Appendix B for a complete copy of the Parliamentarian Statement).


Apart from the PS, the Parliamentarians conference launched a Water Legislation Helpdesk (WLH), an electronic database that enables knowledge and experience sharing across national borders. It was developed by the World Water Council (WWC) to encourage discussions among parliamentarians and increase the effectiveness of the proposed water legislation by providing technical services for legislative development, implementation and budget allocation. In addition, this platform will help lawmakers facing similar problems to learn from each other. Therefore, exemplary cases will be shared interactively through this Helpdesk website. Furthermore, this platform aims to promote global communication in water-related law. This online Helpdesk is available in several languages.


In addition to the launch of the WLH, a Helpdesk Steering Committee (HSC) was also nominated, with the sole purpose of providing political oversight and structure to the WLH. The HSC consists of parliamentarians from different regions of the world. The members are as follows:


  • The Republic of South Africa: Hon. Mlungisi Johnson, MP
  • The Republic of Korea: Mr. Jeong-Woo Kil
  • The Federative Republic of Brazil: Mr. Arnaldo Jardim


  1. Closing Remarks


The 7th World Water Forum ended on a high note, with key invitations that are worth noting, namely:


  1. The 8th World Water Forum


The World Water Council selected the city of Brasilia, Brazil, to welcome the 8th World Water Forum in 2018. In this regard, all parliamentarians were invited to attend this upcoming prestigious event.


  1. Conference of Parties (COP21) of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)


The Parliamentarians Statement noted and appreciated that the 7th WWF is happening at the dawn of the COP21 to be held in Paris, France, later this year.  The 7th WWF provided parliamentarians an opportunity to develop a joint message that should be conveyed to the COP21. In this regard, the parliamentarians requested their representatives to incorporate water as a central component of adaptation at COP21 and that water should be treated as fundamental to the allocation of climate findings.


  1. United Nations Summit on the Post-2015 Development Agenda (Sustainable Development Goals)


In July 2014, the Open Working Group on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) proposed an ambitious set of 17 goals and 169 targets to guide global development from 2015-2030, to be adopted at the Summit on the Post-2015 Development Agenda at the end of September 2015 in New York. The SDGs include two goals on water and sanitation, namely:

  • Goal 6 - Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all; and
  • Goal 17 - Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development, in the context of water and sanitation.


The 7th WWF resolved that all parliamentarians who will be participating in the United Nations Summit on the Post-2015 Development Agenda must support these proposals and the Parliamentarian Statement.





APPENDIX A: ministerial declaration


We, the Ministers and Heads of Delegations assembled in Gyeongju, Republic of Korea, on 13 April 2015 on the occasion of the Ministerial Conference of the 7th World Water Forum, “Water for Our Future”,


Reaffirming the United Nations General Assembly Resolutions entitled “The Human Right to Water and Sanitation”(A/RES/64/292), “The Human Right to Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation”(A/RES/68/157), “International Decade for Action, Water for Life, 2005-2015”(A/RES/58/217), “International Year of Water Cooperation, 2013”(A/RES/65/154) as well as the Human Rights Council Resolution entitled “The Human Right to Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation”(A/HRC/27/7),


Reaffirming the commitments made in the outcome document of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (“Rio+20”), “The Future We Want”,

Recognizing the key water-related challenges the world is facing as well as the urgent need to address them in a sustainable manner,


Welcoming the proposed water-related Sustainable Development Goals by the Open Working Group of the United Nations General Assembly,


Recognizing the significant contributions previous World Water Fora and the Budapest Water Summit have made in committing to address water-related challenges, and reaffirming the Ministerial Declaration of the 6th World Water Forum, “Time for Solutions” held in Marseille, France, in 2012,


Further recognizing that sustainable management of water resources is a collective responsibility of all stakeholders,


Acknowledging that water resources is vital for sustainable development for all countries in the world, in particular, for developing countries including the least developed countries,

Stressing the need to promote good governance at all levels including basin level, based on, inter alia, water planning, public participation and the sound management of physical infrastructure and natural systems as a means to effectively tackle the water security related challenges,

Further recognizing the need to move from “solutions” identified during the previous World Water Fora for resolving water-related challenges to “implementation”,


Taking into consideration, as appropriate, the “Daegu-Gyeongbuk Recommendations” which have been submitted to the Ministers, and welcoming the many contributions and efforts from the Thematic, Regional and Science and Technology Processes,

Declare our political will to translate our commitments made in this Declaration into national policies, plans and actions and to intensify our joint efforts to advance water-related cooperation at a global scale as follows:


  1. We reaffirm that water is at the core of sustainable development and support the inclusion of one dedicated water goal and water-related targets in the Post-2015 Development Agenda. We note that Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) and its balanced relation with food and energy is important to effectively cope with increasing food and energy requirements towards sustainable development.
  2. We reaffirm our commitment to the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation and ensuring progressive access to water and sanitation for all.
  3. We stress that water is one of the major issues in tackling climate change. In this regard, we are committed to working together to ensure a successful outcome at the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties (COP21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), in full recognition of the importance of water-related issues in climate change.
  4. We recognize the leading role that riparian countries have on advancing cooperation on trans-boundary waters. We recognize that trans-boundary water cooperation based on win-win solutions can contribute to sustainable development and sound management of the trans-boundary waters between riparian countries and peace and stability of the nations. We are determined to further build upon the commitments and recommendations regarding trans-boundary water cooperation made in the previous World Water Fora and the 7th World Water Forum. We note the key role of the United Nations in promoting international water cooperation at the global level. Several of the principles of the relevant international Conventions on water can be useful in this regard.
  5. Taking note of the outcome of the Third United Nations World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, we acknowledge the pressing need to take preventive actions and enhance resilience and preparedness towards water-related disasters at national, regional, and international levels. Developing systematic and effective response mechanisms is crucial to deal with increased risks and uncertainties of water-related disasters. We emphasize that IWRM supported by appropriate land management at the basin level is crucial to sustainable water management and planning. This includes enhancing prevention, resilience and preparedness towards water-related disasters, based on sound management of natural systems and adequate water infrastructures.
  6. We underscore the importance of international cooperation and partnership between developed and developing countries, among international aid agencies, financial institutions and related intergovernmental organizations and other stakeholders. We highlight the partnership between public and private sectors, as appropriate, in tackling water-related global challenges, including climate related institutions such as the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF).

7.  We underline the critical role of science and technology in paving the way from “solutions” for resolving water-related challenges to “implementation” by applying innovative and applicable technologies to policies as well as building sound and effective action plans linking science, technologies, policies and practices. We share a common understanding of the need to establish sound science-based public policies and regulations supported by appropriate institutional mechanisms. We stress in particular the importance of convergence of information and communications technologies (ICT) on smart water management and planning. We call upon nations to promote knowledge sharing and the development and deployment of scientific knowledge and innovative technologies to facilitate financing, investment, education, training and capacity building, particularly for developing countries and as well as to develop and diffuse concrete business models with a view to promote cooperation among water-related stakeholders. In this regard, we welcome the inauguration of the Science and Technology Process in the World Water Forum and resolve to build on its progress and further strengthen participation in the Process.


We support the results of the 7th World Water Forum and look forward to the “Implementation Roadmap”, along with its relevant Monitoring System, which could be considered as a reference for establishing implementation and monitoring guidelines for water-related goals in the Post-2015 Development Agenda. We further welcome the outcomes of the 7th World Water Forum’s Process, “Daegu-Gyeongbuk Water Action for Sustainable Cities and Regions” and its network of Local and Regional Authorities, as well as the ongoing process in the World Water Fora regarding establishment of the “Water Legislation Helpdesk” aimed to serve as a support tool for networks of parliamentarians.


We thank the Government and the people of the Republic of Korea, the Metropolitan City of Daegu, the Province of Gyeongsangbuk-do and the World Water Council for their support in organizing the Ministerial Conference of the 7th World Water Forum and recommend to the Government of the Republic of Korea to submit this Declaration to the United Nations Member States and appropriate bodies of the United Nations for their consideration.
























We, the representatives of parliamentarians participating in the 7th World Water Forum, meeting within the framework of the Conference of Parliamentarians for Water held in Daegu ∙ Gyeongbuk on 15 April 2015,


  1. Reiterating that billions of people still lack access to safe drinking water and sanitation services in spite of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) and the official recognition in 2010 of the human right to water and sanitation.
  2. Recalling that good legal frameworks are crucial in order to ensure water security for all, for present and future generations,
  3. Stressing that the global water situation continues to deteriorate due to climate change, poor water governance and other crises, exacerbated by environmental damages that are artefacts of unsustainable models,
  4. Recognizing the existence of conflicts over shared water resources, despite regional and national efforts to establish relevant water governance,
  5. Acknowledging the need to share and diffuse comprehensive water management solutions that encompass food, energy, both urban and ecological, and cultural solutions, not only confined to water,
  6. Affirming that Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) based on hydrographic basins, concertation between stakeholders and creation of synergies between different policies are a key to adaptation and attenuation for climate change,


Accordingly, we, the representatives of parliamentarians participating in the 7th World Water Forum, commit to support the following solutions and requests to advance human right to water and sanitation and to improve water management:


  1. Ask that water security be given the utmost priority in allocation of financial resources in countries that lack access to water and sanitation; and that other countries get involved in decentralised cooperation. Allow prompt amendment of laws and minimise budget execution processes to enhance global human right to water and sanitation, improving budget execution efficiency in the water sector compared to the past, and allocate additional and separate financial resources for urgent water and sanitation challenges.
  2. Support continuously, education and training, in order to optimise investment in water and sanitation as a human right.
  3. Establish institutional mechanisms to allow participation of all stakeholders, both directly and indirectly, in water management.
  4. Call for all countries to promote sustainable economic development in due consideration of the environment, and for developed countries, to participate actively in providing financial support underpinning these efforts; make environment-related funds available for prompt financial support for countries in need; pursue effective environment restoration efforts both at national and international levels; thus, aim to achieve green growth. 
  5. Minimise water-related conflicts; strengthen collaborative research at national and international levels to establish governance that involves all stakeholders for protection of human rights and efficient water management; in particular, reaffirm the important roles of central, regional, and local government officials, water expert organisations and other stakeholders.
  6. Create a global model for sustainable development and for synthesis of water with various sectors in the society, based on Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) research. The model should encompass eco-friendly and sustainable agricultural, industrial, and urban development strategies. Establish legal instruments to support IWRM, as water, in synthesis with all sectors of society, have contributed to development in the past and will continue to do so in the future; mobilise and secure financial resources.
  7. Work towards providing legal basis and procurement of financial resources for establishment of organisations that support operation of governance over shared water resources (transnational and trans-regional), executing water-related solutions of governance at the national level; efforts for the operation of various governance with regard to shared waters, establishment of legal base for this supportive organization and preparation of working funds. In addition, secure execution ability for solutions of water issues to be implemented in each country through governance.
  8. Share and evaluate past statements of the parliamentarian process and results of today through the ‘Water Legislation Helpdesk’ and allow regular access to information on changes in water management circumstances of each country and its parliamentary response.




We, the representatives of parliamentarians participating in the 7th World Water Forum, within the framework of the Conference of Parliamentarians for Water at the 7th World Water Forum held in Daegu · Gyeongbuk:


  1. Hereby present solutions for the past, present and future water issues and pledge to implement them,
  2. Declare the necessity for the involvement of youth and continuous efforts to secure safe drinking water and sanitation and for changes in water management to effectively respond to climate change and future water crises,
  3. Ask our representatives to support the above proposals and commitments at the UN General Assembly to be held in September 2015,
  4. Ask our representatives to incorporate water as a central component of adaptation during negotiations of COP21 to be held in Paris in 2015.  As a consequence, water has to be treated as fundamental to the allocation of climate funding.


Report to be considered




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