International Experts Meeting 30 Years of Mar del Plata: Achievements and Expectations

March 12, 2007 | Zaragoza, Spain

The United Nations Water Conference was organized in Mar del Plata in March 1977. Its main objective was to promote a level of preparedness, nationally and internationally, of the problems of the world in relation to water.

One of the main achievements of this Conference was that the period 1981-1990 was proclaimed by the General Assembly of the United Nations as the International Decade for Water Supply and Environmental Sanitation. The objective of this Decade was not only to try that all the people of the world could have access to clean water and sanitation, but to transmit the message to the world that millions of people did not have access to these basic services, and that the political will and investments were essential to improve this unacceptable situation.

2007 was the 30th Anniversary of the Conference of Mar del Plata. The Government of Aragon, through the Ministry of Environment, the Aragon Water Institute and the International Centre for Water, in collaboration with the Third World Centre for Water Management and with the support of the International Water Resources Association, organized an International Experts Meeting 12-14 March in Zaragoza.

The objective of this meeting was to look back to the past 30 years and objectively and critically assess what were the expectations at Mar del Plata, what we have achieved and what we have not achieved. We reviewed the reasons for the successes and the failures, and attempt to identify ways through which the various constraints could be overcome.

Participation to this workshop was by invitation only and included ministers, key individuals from the Mar del Plata Conference, and leading international water, environment and development experts from different parts of the world.