Jakarta, March 12, 2003 (ANTARA) - More than 100 ministers are expected to discuss a water crisis at the Third World Water Forum (WWF) to be held in Kyoto, Japan, from March 16 to 23, 2003, the World Bank said here Wednesday. The Forum, which will be participated in by around 8,000 people consisting of, among others, scientists, NGO activists, academicians and government officials, will focus on a global water crisis and other related issues, for instance, water and gender, energy, food, agriculture, environment, poverty, sanitation, pollution, climate change and cultural diversity.Issues on financing and pticipation of the private sector in the construction of water project infrastructures are expected to be debated in a dialogue between Forum participants and the ministers at Kyoto International Conference Hall, on March 21, 2003. State Minister of Settlement, Infrastructure, and Regions (Depkimpraswil) Sunarno will lead an Indonesian delegation, which includes Director General of Water Resources Roestam Sjarief, to the Forum. A United Nations report said early this month (March) that World water reserves are drying up fast and booming populations, pollution and global warming will combine to cut the average person's water supply by a third in the next 20 years.
The report, compiled by the World Water Assessment Programme of UNESCO, criticised political leaders for failing to take action and in some cases, disputing the very existence of a water crisis.
More than 2.2 million people die each year from diseases related to contaminated drinking water and poor sanitation, the report said, but evidence of the problem was being ignored. By 2050, water scarcity will affect between two billion and seven billion people out of a projected total of 9.3 billion, depending in part on what measures political leaders take to tackle the crisis, the report said.
In Indonesia at present, piped water services reach only around 30 per cent of the urban population. The Regional Water Supply Authority (PDAM) so far can meet only 20 per cent of clean water demand nationwide, both in the urban as well as rural areas.
The 2nd World Water Forum (WWF) and the United Nations Millennium Declaration have set water targets of reducing by one-half the proportion of people without sustainable access to adequate quantities of affordable and safe water by the year 2015, and providing water, sanitation and hygiene for all by 2025.
On Earth Day, April 22, 2003, Earth Day Network will launch a two-year Water for Life campaign highlighting critical water access, health, and usage issues. The United Nations has declared the year 2003 as the UN International Year of Freshwater.
The first WWF was organized by the World Water Council, in Marrakech in 1997 and the second was in the Hague in 2000. (T/f001/A/b003) 12/03/:3 17:13