The 4th World Water Forum

March 22, 2006

1. Japan's Basic Position

As water and sanitation is a globally challenging issue, it is imperative that this issue is urgently addressed for the acceleration of worldwide sustainable development and poverty reduction.

(1) "Human security" is one of the pillars of Japanese diplomacy, wherein water is the essential element of human security, and (2) Japan has extensive knowledge of water policies in various areas due to its geographical and historical background. For these reasons, Japan has been playing a leading role in international and regional efforts and cooperation with respect to water such as hosting the 3rd World Water Forum in 2003 in Kyoto.

At the 4th World Water Forum, which was held under the theme of "Local Actions for a Global Challenge," Japan proactively contributed in terms of raising world awareness of water issues, proposing policies, sharing information and supporting capacity building while steadily implementing the outcomes and commitments of the previous forum.

2. Overview


March 16 (Thu) - 22 (Wed) 2006
Ministerial Conference: March 21 and 22


Mexico City, Banamex Center (International Conference Hall) and the Camino Real Hotel (final day only)


Forum (including approximately 150 session meetings), water-related displays, Ministerial Conference, water-related award ceremonies (King Hassan II Great World Water Prize, Kyoto World Water Grand Prize), etc.

Number of participants:

Approximately 19,000 representatives of governments, international organizations, private enterprises, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), research institutes and others from about 140 countries participated. From Japan, over 300 people participated including His Imperial Highness Crown Prince Naruhito; former Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto; Senior Vice Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transport Tetsuma Esaki; Senior Vice Minister of the Environment Yasuyuki Eda; Ambassador for Global Environmental Affairs Mutsuyoshi Nishimura; representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport; the Ministry of the Environment; the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries; the Forestry Agency; the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare; the Japan Water Forum Secretariat; research institutes; and businesses.

3. Forum (March 16 [Thu] - 22 [Wed])

  • On the 16th, His Imperial Highness Crown Prince Naruhito (Honorary President of the 3rd World Water Forum) attended the opening ceremony and delivered an address. In addition, on the 17th, His Imperial Highness delivered a keynote speech entitled "Edo and Water Transportation" in which he noted on the importance of efforts based on existing circumstances and the history of the region.
  • On the 16th, the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General's Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation, on which former Prime Minister Hashimoto serves as the Chairman, announced an action plan entitled Compendium of Actions for the resolution of water and sanitation issues. Concrete action was called for in regards to the areas of financing, water operators partnerships, sanitation, monitoring, integrated water resource management (IWRM), and water-related disasters.
  • Session meetings comprised of approximately 150 sessions in total were conducted, out of which about 30 or more session meetings were organized by participants from Japan.
  • Japan announced the Water and Sanitation for Broad Partnership Initiative (WASABI) [PDF]Acrobat as its new official development assistance (ODA) policy related to water and sanitation. The initiative indicated that Japan will effectively assist the self-help efforts of developing countries in collaboration with international organizations, other donor nations, NGOs, etc. based on its abundant water and sanitation-related experience, knowledge, and technology.
  • Japan gave a progress report on the projects carried out since 2003 in the Republic of the Philippines, the Republic of Indonesia and Jamaica under the Japan-US Clean Water for People Initiative. In addition, Japan announced its new cooperation project in India.
  • Japan, the People's Republic of China, and the Republic of Korea (ROK) (Japan: Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport; China: Ministry of Water Resources P.R.C.; ROK: Ministry of Construction and Transportation), as an initiative aimed at resolving water issues, jointly organized for the first time three sessions on flood management which is a common challenge among the three countries, the revitalization of rivers in the Asian monsoon region and the water resource information system. At the sessions attended by minister-level officials from each delegation, the three countries affirmed to strengthen their trilateral cooperative relations in the area of water.

4. Ministerial Conference (March 21 [Tue] - 22 [Wed])

[Attended by Senior Vice Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transport Esaki and Senior Vice Minister of the Environment Eda from Japan.]

  • Round tables (session meetings) were held over six themes (financing, IWRM, effective use of water, decentralization of governance, monitoring mechanisms, and water and the environment), and a Chairman's summary was released. Japan participated in the session on water and the environment, and noted on the importance of comprehensive efforts towards preserving a healthy water cycle in terms of environmental conservation, as well as the importance of sharing and utilizing information related to the conservation of water environments.
  • As a whole, under this forum's theme of "Local Actions for a Global Challenge," the Ministerial Declaration was adopted which proclaimed the importance of water issues for sustainable development and this forum's contribution to further promoting international agreements and commitments.
  • The CSD Water Action and Networking Database (CSD WAND) was newly announced. The CSD WAND, which was developed and expanded through cooperation with the UN, is the new form of the Japan-led Portfolio of Water Actions (PWA), a major outcome of the 3rd World Water Forum Ministerial Conference. The new database encompasses the various types of local actions presented at this forum.


The World Water Forum is an international conference organized by the World Water Council (WWC [note]) in order to discuss global water issues. It is held once every three years around the World Water Day on March 22 for about one week. The 1st World Water Forum was held in 1997 at Marrakesh, Kingdom of Morocco, and the 2nd forum was held in 2000 at The Hague in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The 3rd forum was held in March 2003 in Japan (Kyoto, Shiga, Osaka), with His Imperial Highness Crown Prince Naruhito serving as the Honorary President and former Prime Minister Hashimoto as the Chairman of the National Steering Committee for the forum. In addition, Ministerial Conferences came to be held at this forum from the 2nd meeting. It has been decided that the 5th forum will be held in 2009 in Istanbul, Republic of Turkey.


The World Water Council (WWC) is a think tank (NGO) that reviews policies related to water. It was launched in 1996 primarily under the leadership of the UN Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the World Bank. Its headquarters is located in Marseilles, French Republic.

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