8th World Water Forum, Brasilia, March 1-23, 2018

Posted April 15, 2018

For the first time ever, for its 8th edition, the WORLD WATER FORUM took place in the Southern Hemisphere, in Brasilia, capital of Brazil. Sisters Geny Alves and Rosa de Lima Pereira, RSCM, were participants.  About 30,000 people from 170 countries attended.

HOW TO WAKE UP THE WORLD? This message is our responsibility: It is urgent to stop destruction. The media covered this international event, so, I will simply mention brief general information and then my presonal reflections. Beginning with its physical assembly, the Forum was a spectacle! There were 5 sites: Ulisses Guimarães Convention Center: official site of the Forum, with the official opening session, presentation of the themes and sub-themes offered during the days of the Forum, sharing of experiences in different parts of the world, and the official closing session; Mané Garrincha Stadium: the Food Court; Two Pavilions of Exhibitions, Shows and Proposals of various groups, national, foreign and multinational organizations; and finally, the “Citizen’s Village” – open space, for everyone, with presentations by registered groups, and informative, educational, interactive and playful activities for all ages.

MY PERSONAL VISION OF THE FORUM: I will mention only a few points:

1. For me. the emotions awakened about the theme even before the Forum were far greater than the still very timid role played by local people and communities in the issue and the crucial problem of water.

2. In fact, the two major “protagonists” in the crucial issue of water are the State and Private Enterprises. This is even evident by the list of sponsors of the Forum.  Another proof of this: in one of the sub-themes for which I signed up, the solution chosen for the São Francisco River Basin problem–called “Rio de la Unidad Nacional”—which irrigates seven Brazilian States, was the Privatization of CHIESF (Companhia Hidro-Elétrica do São Francisco) a subsidiary of Electrobras Brazilian Hydroelectric. It is evident that the involvement and the activism of the local communities are not part of this process of finding a solution.

3. What “made my heart burn” in those days of Forum, was the health of community sharing, a beautiful and strong witness of people active in their local realities. There, the transformation of people and nature is taking place in an interactive and mutually beneficial way! I highlight in particular two of these shared experiences that were part of my choice of Themes:

a) In Brazil, next to the Itaipu Dam in State of Paraná: a young lady, Silvana, educator, was one who lost her land ones in the region of the construction of the dam. She chose to work for participation in the pursuit of water security and sustainable regional development for all (Cf. UNO). In this management model, the municipal management committee includes 29 municipalities and 2,146 partner organizations, with a lot of community involvement.

b) In Japan: Post-earthquake, with its consequences of environmental destruction, there was the exodus of many young people leaving the aging of the population that remained. However, in the aftermath of the disaster, as a result of the experience and upon reflection of the two parties, the program of solidarity for action on the part of the young and h the aged. For both parties, there was a new life.

4. What wisdom and light have remained me with me: Production, Water, Community: all three complete. Life is the strategy of being on our Planet Earth. We are nature! All! Including us! Humanity is part of nature, and sometimes we live more like parasites!

Life is organized water. Water is “planted”! And modern agriculture violates Life. We must do the opposite, following the logic of nature. For the essential elemnt in “plantation” is the human being. (This was shared by a small farmer from the Brazilian Cerrado Region).

 Irma Rosa de Lima Pereira, RSCM

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