Switzerland is taking part in the World Water Forum from 21 to 26 March 2022, hosted this year in the Senegalese capital Dakar. This is the 9th edition of the forum and will be dedicated to water security for peace and sustainable development. Switzerland’s contribution to the forum will focus on its peacebuilding experiences in the water sector.
Water scarcity is a growing problem in many parts of the world. Around 2.2 billion people have no access to clean water. Ever-increasing consumption, continued population growth, pollution and climate change are all contributing to water poverty and, as a result, economic poverty. Increasing water scarcity means more competition and conflict concerning how that water is distributed.
The World Water Forum is the largest and most important event for the water sector worldwide. It takes place every three years and addresses the most pressing challenges in terms of water and sanitation services at a global level. This year’s forum, which is being held for the first time in the sub-Sahara, is dedicated to the peace-related dimensions of water. The main focus will be on the sustainable and peaceful use of transboundary waters (rivers, lakes, aquifers) and their importance for security, stability and economic development in the many regions of the world increasingly affected by drought.
Development opportunities through the peaceful use of water resources
The Swiss delegation to the forum is being led by Christian Frutiger, assistant director of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). The Federal Council has conferred on him the title of State Secretary for the duration of the Forum. Switzerland’s participation at the forum will focus on its growing efforts to strengthen cooperation between riparian states in sustainable and peaceful transboundary water management. Switzerland has many years of experience and know-how in this field, which it has gained through its Blue Peace initiative and related water projects in the Middle East, Central Asia and West Africa.
The numerous and varied Swiss actors involved in water – from the public and private sectors, research institutes and civil society – give Switzerland an exceptionally broad knowledge base that it can offer forum participants, particularly the Global South. It also means that Switzerland can make a key contribution to global solutions on water. Swiss stakeholders will be taking part in the forum as well as Switzerland’s exhibition stand – the Swiss Water Partnership.