This Article is From Apr 09, 2009

Water forum heads into final straight

Istanbul: A seven-day focus on the world's water crunch will wind up in Istanbul on Sunday with an expected pledge to work harder to provide access to clean water and sanitation and tackle worsening scarcity.

The declaration was to be published at the end of the fifth World Water Forum by more than 100 ministers or their stand-ins, although activists yesterday attacked the non-binding document as worthless.

",The world is facing rapid and unprecedented global changes, including population growth, migration, urbanisation, climate change, desertification, drought, degradation and land use, economic and diet changes,", a draft of the statement said.

It sets out a roster of recommendations for action, including greater cooperation to ease disputes over water, measures to address floods and drought, curbing pollution and better management of rivers, lakes and aquifers.

The World Water Forum is held every three years, and has gained in importance as an arena for debating the globe's amplifying problems of freshwater.

At least 25,000 policymakers, water specialists and grassroots workers took part in this year's event, a record attendance.