05/21/2024, 14.40
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The 10th World Water Forum opens in Bali

by Mathias Hariyadi

The tourist island is host to the forum until Saturday. In yesterday’s opening ceremony, Indonesian President Joko Widodo introduced his successor, Prabowo Subianto. Several sessions are dedicated to water sharing as a way to ensure peace.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) - The Indonesian island of Bali is hosting the 10th World Water Forum (18-25 May), centred on “Water for Shared Prosperity".

Organised by the World Water Council (WWC), a non-profit thinktank, the event has brought scores of foreign delegations, members of civil society groups, academics and business people, including Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who is in Indonesia to launch the Starlink internet service that will be used by three health centres.

Participants were invited to share their knowledge and best practices on a wide range of topics, including water conservation, access to safe drinking water and sanitation, food and energy security, and natural disaster mitigation.

Indonesia is the third Asian country to host the forum after Japan and South Korea.

Traditional Hindu Balinese water purification and animal veneration ceremonies called Segara Kerthi and Rahina Tumpek were performed on Saturday.

In yesterday’s ceremony, President Joko Widodo took the opportunity to introduce his successor, President-elect Prabowo Subianto.

In his opening address, Widodo, popularly known as Jokowi, said that by 2050, some 500 million small farmers, who contribute 80 per cent of the world's food production, are expected to be vulnerable to drought.

“[O]f the 72 per cent of the Earth’s surface that is covered by water, only 1 per cent can be accessed and used as drinking water and for sanitation purposes,” Indonesia’s outgoing president said.

“Without water, there’ll be no food, no peace, no life. No water, no life, no growth,” he explained. “Water is the source of life; water is also a symbol of balance and harmony. However, if not managed properly, water can also be a source of disaster” for people and countries.

The President of the UN General Assembly, Dennis Francis, also reiterated that cooperation in water management is essential to foster international peace.

“But being the better and the best messenger today is not enough,” said World Water Council President Loïc Fauchon, “because we need to do more if we want to spare and save water for peace and prosperity. And more than fighters, we need to be water warriors,"

The World Water Forum is the largest international gathering dedicated to water resources and has been held every three years since 1997.

The gathering, which usually lasts a week, is preceded by a preparatory phase, and is followed by a phase of synthesis with continuous support for collective action.

At the last conference, the WWC introduced a policy dedicated to water basins in cooperation with some international agencies to promote dialogue between parties for the equitable management of resources, an essential tool not only for peace but also for the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

As the host country, Indonesia will highlight some issues it deems important, like integrated water management on small islands and a proposal to celebrate World Lake Day.

"The lake is a source of energy and plays a fundamental role in flood control," explained Endra S. Atmawidjaja, a member of the Indonesian delegation.

Other countries can pay attention to some policies implemented by Indonesia, like “the way we ensure clean water and access to good sanitation,” he added.

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