World Water Forum: In Retrospect

During the 1970s, the United Nations System organised a series of global mega-conferences at high decision-making levels on critical global issues. These mega-conference were on Environment (Stockholm, 1972), Population (Bucharest, 1974), Food (Rome, 1974), Women (Mexico City, 1975), Human Settlements (Vancouver, 1976), Water(Mar del Plata, 1977), Desertification (Nairobi, 1977) and New and Renewable Sources of Energy (Nairobi, 1979). Some twenty years after these major events, during 1990s, the United Nations System decided to convene similar mega-conferences on issues that it still considered to be important: Environment (Rio de Janeiro), Food Security (Rome), Population (Cairo), Women (Beijing) and Human Settlements (Istanbul). In addition, a framework convention on Desertification was also agreed to in recent years. Unfortunately, however, there was not only no review of the water situation 20 years after the Mar del Plata meeting, but there was really not even any serious discussion in the United Nations on the desirability of organising such a review. Somehow, water simply no longer remained important.

By Asit K. Biswas, 2002. Research Report, Third World Centre for Water Management, 5 pages. 

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