-2009 Mar., Turkey

Name/Title The 5th World Water Forum
Venue: Country,City Istanbul, Turkey
Date Mar. 16-22, 2009

The "5th World Water Forum" took place in Istanbul, Turkey for seven days from March 16th (Mon.) through March 22nd (Sun.), 2009.

Under the main theme of "Bridging Divides for Water", the Forum was organized into four main sections: (a) Thematic Process (Approximately 100 sessions under six themes), (b) Political Process (meetings of four levels: Heads of States, Ministers, Parliamentarians, and Local Authorities), (c) Regional Process (Four regions and three sub-regions), (d) High Level Panels (disasters, financing, food and energy, sanitation, and adaptation to climate change). The Forum was one of the largest of its kind, with a total attendance of about 30,000 people from 192 countries in the world, including 95 ministerial representatives from 156 countries who attended the Ministerial Conference held concurrently.

From Japan, His Imperial Highness the Crown Prince attended the Forum, delivering a keynote address. Former Prime Minister Yoshiro MORI also attended the Forum as the Prime Minister's special envoy. He participated in various meetings as the current president of Japan Water Forum (JWF) and Asia-Pacific Water Forum (APWF), introducing Japan's efforts on water and sanitation problems to international society, including the results of TI-CAD IV (the 4th Tokyo International Conference on African Development) in last May and the G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit in last July, thereby stressing the need of more international endeavors toward those problems.

From the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT), Senior Vice-Minister Yasushi KANEKO attended a number of meetings, including the Ministerial Conference, and discussed diverse water-related issues in the world such as the measures against flood and sediment-related disasters.

In his keynote address entitled "Interacting with Water - Close Ties between Humans and Water" delivered at the outset of the high level panel, the Crown Prince emphasized the importance of disaster prevention, stating that "At times, water gives serious damage to our lives. Therefore, we must be prepared for it by confronting its danger and taking necessary actions continuously".

Senior Vice-Minister Kaneko attended a number of meetings, ranging from a ministerial session on the "Risk Management of Water Infrastructure Projects Related to Mega Natural Disasters", the Asia-Pacific Regional Meeting, the opening ceremony of the Ministerial Conference, the Japan-China-Korea Ministerial Meeting, to the Ministerial Roundtable.

At the ministerial session on the "Risk Management of Water Infrastructure Projects Related to Mega Natural Disasters", the Senior Vice-Minister introduced Japan's current disaster prevention system, risk management system, and the role of the central government in disasters, by referring to past responses to major flood disasters and the lessons learned, as well as "Japan's disaster prevention system against major natural disasters" which incorporated the experience during the Iwate-Miyagi Inland Earthquake in 2008.

Representatives from about 30 countries and international organizations (UNESCO, etc.) participated in the Ministerial Roundtable on the reduction of damage due to flood and drought disasters. Senior Vice-Minister Kaneko chaired this meeting together with the environmental minister of Portugal. He also presented disaster management recommendations based on Japan's experience by introducing ongoing efforts at ICHARM (International Centre for Water Hazard and Risk Management) of the Public Works Research Institute and the actions taken by TEC-FORCE (Technical Emergency Control Force).

Photograph Senior Vice-Minister Yasushi KANEKO serving as chair of the Ministerial Roundtable.

(Courtesy: Water Resources Department, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism)