Kyoto World Water Council Grand Prize winner announced, to be honoured at 8th World Water Forum

The recipient of the 5th Kyoto World Water Council Grand Prize was recently revealed, announced to be Charité Chrétienne pour Personnes en Détresse, or Christian Charity for People in Distress (CPD), from the Togolese Republic (Togo), a sovereign state in West Africa.

Presented during the World Water Forum since 2003 and organised in cooperation with the Japan Water Forum, the Kyoto World Water Grand prize acknowledges and rewards the best water-related initiative carried out by a grassroots organisation from a developing country. The prize, ¥2 million (US$18,000) aims to support the most innovative activities in developing nations and to serve as a model for other organisations in these regions.

CCPD’s winning initiative will be presented at the closing ceremony of the 8th World Water Forum. The organisation, based in Togo, will be recognised for the work it has accomplished by empowering individuals and community groups to improve access to safe drinking water and sanitation through the construction and refurbishment of drinking water and sanitation facilities, clean-up of sites, and the organisation of awareness and educational campaigns and workshops. In the community of Agou-Klonou, these efforts have contributed to a noticeable decrease in water and sanitation-related diseases and deaths.

With Sharing Water as an overarching theme, the 8th World Water Forum is set to welcome tens of thousands of water sector experts, decision makers, businesses, as well as civil society to what has become the biggest water-related event in the world. Held in the southern hemisphere for the first time, the Government of Brazil will host the event in its capital, Brasilia, between the 18th and the 23rd of March 2018.

There, the event, which is designed to maximise interaction at all levels to better manage water, will inform the thematic, regional, and political processes, underscored by sustainability and citizen’s participation. As water is an issue that concerns everyone, the World Water Forum will open its doors to the public through an interactive Citizen’s Village that is accessible to all.

The thematic process organises discussions and debates on a variety of themes relating to water security challenges and lessons. High-level panels will analyse adherence to and fulfilment of international agreements, including the 7th World Water Forum Implementation Roadmaps, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as well as the Paris Climate Agreement, among others.

The Regional Process, on the other hand, catalyses knowledge sharing by collectively identifying key issues in specific continents through a solutions-based approach. There, high-level political commitments and stakeholder engagement combined with local perspectives provide a crucible for reaching realistic targets.

Finally, the political process invites ministers, parliamentarians, mayors, governors, judges, and prosecutors to talk about water in their communities. Water management solutions require firm political commitments from governments, and are therefore central to the World Water Forum.

The sustainability focus group engages with all three of the processes, aiming to ensure sustainable development is an underlying component.

Latin America, the host region, is also able to provide solid expertise in water infrastructure management, offering 95 per cent of its population with access to improved drinking water sources. For instance, there, the Itaipu Power Plant on the Paraná River that separate Brazil and Paraguay is the site of the world’s largest generator of renewable energy in the form of hydropower. The result of a bi-national partnership between Brazil and Paraguay, each government owns 50 per cent of the international company that was created to manage the plant, supplying both nations with energy.

“The purpose of the World Water Forum is to bring water experts and professionals closer to the decision makers,” Benedito Braga, World Water Council President, stated. “We want ministers, heads of state, parliamentarians, mayors and presidents of municipal chambers to participate in the Forum, to exchange knowledge and to mobilise themselves around the rational use of water and global water security.”