World Water Day: responding to the urban challenge


The objective of World Water Day 2011 is to focus international attention on the impact of rapid urban population growth, industrialization and uncertainties caused by climate change, conflicts and natural disasters on urban water systems. This year theme, “Water for cities: Responding to the urban challenge”, aims to spotlight and encourage governments, organizations, communities, and individuals to actively engage in addressing the challenges of urban water management.


The challenge of water is one of the most important issues on the United Cities and Local Governments agenda, and it is a priority for all UCLG members. Local governments are a unique actor, able to provide quality services to citizens, for an affordable price. Thanks to the active partnerships signed with the World Water Council (among others), important steps forward have been made since 2004. The Istanbul Water Consensus, adopted in 2009 during the World Water Forum, represents guidelines for a local and regional action plans elaborating water management strategies better adapted to the planet’s changing evironments.   


The World Water Day is thus the opportunity to recall that the urban landscape continues to grow, at a time where for the first time in human history, most of the world’s population lives in cities. 38% of the growth is represented by expanding slums, while the city populations are increasing faster than city infrastructure can adapt.


In the framework of the 6th World Water Forum, co-organised by the French state, the City of Marseille and the World Water Council, the City of Lyon will host on 30 and 31st May 2011 the international conference launching the political process of Local and Regional Authorities for the 6th Forum.