World Water Council
The World Water Council is an international think tank founded in 1996, with its headquarters in Marseille, France. It has 311 members (July 2013) from the private sector (for example the French power company EDF and the manufacturing company Mitsubishi Heavy Industries), government ministries, academic institutions, international financial institutions (for example the World Bank), the UN and local government. Among the founders of the World Water Council were members of the management of international corporations, for example the multinational Suez, the International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, the International Water Association, the United Nations agencies UNDP and UNESCO and the World Bank.
Its stated mission is "to promote awareness, build political commitment and trigger action on critical water issues at all levels, including the highest decision-making level, to facilitate the efficient conservation, protection, development, planning, management, and use of water in all its dimensions on an environmentally sustainable basis for the benefit of all life on earth."
Every third year the World Water Council organizes the World Water Forum in close collaboration with the authorities of the hosting country. The Forum is the largest international event in the field of water. The 5th World Water Forum took place in Istanbul during 16–22 March 2009, the 6th World Water Forum in Marseille, France 2012 and the 7th World Water Forum is planned for 2015 in Daegu-Gyeongbuk, Republic of Korea.
The World Water Council is financed primarily through membership fees, and additional support is provided by the host City of Marseille. Specific projects and programs are financed through donations and grants from governments, international organizations, and NGO's.
2009 World Water Forum
The 5th World Water Forum took place in Istanbul, Turkey, on March 16 to 22, 2009.
A variety of events throughout the week focused on just one overarching theme: “Bridging Divides for Water”. One main side event of the Forum is the World Water Youth Forum, with over 150 participants from 28 countries.
The ICRC is calling on governments taking part in the Fifth World Water Forum to make a serious commitment to protect water and sanitation systems in times of war and to maintain services in conflict-prone areas to prevent them from collapsing.
Critics accuse the World Water Council of promoting the privatisation of water supply, an indication of this is the large influence of financial institutions and global water corporations. The Canadian activist Tony Clarke describes the World Water Council as a smoke screen for the water lobby. Medha Patkar, an activist from India, gave a passionate speech against privatisation of water at the 2nd World Water Forum in The Hague in 2000.
- ICRC Press release
- Maude Barlow and Tony Clarke, "Blue Gold: The Battle Against Corporate Theft of the World's Water" (2002).