In january 1992 the international conference on water

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Unformatted text preview: on the international agenda. In January, 1992, the International Conference on Water and the Environment (ICWE) was held in Dublin, Ireland to serve as the preparatory event, with respect to water issues, to the Rio United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) Conference. The Dublin Conference was expected to formulate sustainable water policies and an action program to be considered by UNCED. The conference reports set out the recommendations for action at the local, national, and international levels, based on the following four guiding principles (ICWE, 1992): A critical review of the evolution of IWRM in the international agenda, from the UN Conference on Water held in Mar del Plata in 1977 to the Third World Water Forum of Kyoto in 2003, follows. United Nations Conference on Water (Mar del Plata 1977) In 1977, the UN Conference on Water was held in Mar del Plata, Argentina. Its goals were to assess the status of water resources; to ensure that an adequate supply of quality water was available to meet the planet’s socioeconomic needs; to increase water use efficiency; and to promote preparedness, nationally and internationally, so as to avoid a water crisis of global dimensions before the end of twentieth century. The conference approved the Mar del Plata Action Plan, which was the first internationally coordinated approach to IWRM. The plan had two parts: a set of recommendations that covered all the essential components of water management, and twelve resolutions on a wide range of specific subject areas. It discussed assessment of water use and efficiency; natural hazards, environment, health and pollution control; policy, planning and management; public information, education, training and research; and regional and international cooperation (Biswas, 2004). The Mar del Plata conference was a success, in part due to the active participation of the developing world and the discussions on various aspects of water management, specifically the country and region specific analyses. The conference considered water management on a holistic and comprehensive basis, an approach recognized as one of the key IWRM issues in the 1990s. To provide potable water and sanitation facilities to all, and to accelerate political will and investment in the water sector, the conference recommended the period 1980 to 1990 as the International Water Supply and Sanitation Decade. The Mar del Plata conference was undoubtedly a major milestone in the history of water resources development for the 20th century. Viewed from any direction, the conference has become an important yardstick in water resources management, particularly for IWRM. Regrettably, transboundary water resources management was not discussed comprehensively, and an implementation scheme for the Action Plan was not developed during the discussion (Biswas, 2004). While the 1980s were key as far as implementing the Mar del Plata principles, gradually, water faded from international agendas, so much so that the Brundtland Commission Report (WCED, 1987), which laid the cornerstones to the concept of sustainable development in international policy, hardly addressed the issue of water. • • • • Principle one recognized fresh water as a finite, vulnerable, and essential resource, and suggested that water should be managed in an integrated manner. Principle two suggested a participatory approach, involving users, planners, and policymakers, at all levels of water development and management. Principle three recognized women’s central role in the provision, management, and safeguarding of water. Principle four suggested that water should be considered as an economic good. The fourth principle became highly debated and was opposed by water professionals from the developing world. They argued that no water development initiatives could be sustainable if water was considered an economic good without considering the issues of equity and poverty. The main successes of the Dublin conference were that it focused on the necessity of integrated water management and on active participations of all stakeholders, from the highest levels of government to the smallest communities, and highlighted the...
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This note was uploaded on 01/08/2014 for the course SUST 520 taught by Professor Asunkis during the Fall '13 term at Black Hills State University.

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