The Lisbon 21 World Forum on Water, Energy and Sustainable Development was held at the Geographic Society of Lisbon (Portugal) on October 24th and 25th, 2011. The Lisbon 21 World Forum was conceived as a proposal for bringing together institutions and civil society to raise general social awareness of the problems of sustainable development. The debate focused on Water and Energy and compared experiences on these two commodities over the last 20 years. More than 650 attendees participated at this event. It was structured as a central programme with eight round tables and five parallel sessions. Experts, institutions and businesses expounded their criteria and opinions. You can download the Lisbon 21 World Forum Executive Summary pdf here
The focus of this conference was water and the green economy. The green economy will be one of the two key themes for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development ‘Rio+20’. A green economy is one that promotes human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risk and ecological scarcities. For water, this means managing water in a way that catalyses social and economic development, whilst also safeguarding freshwater ecosystems. The conference was held at the headquarters of the Ebro River Basin Authority in Zaragoza and has been organised by the UN Office to Support the International Decade for Action 'Water for Life' 2005-2015.
The conference brought together experts, UN professionals, stakeholders and journalists from five continents to discuss and share experiences of best practice in water management, and water and sanitation services provision. The cases presented innovative policies, projects and initiatives that generate the economic, social and environmental benefits that the green economy should deliver. Moving from theory to practice, the conference has illustrated how water can be a building block in the transition to a green economy, and will provide input to the preparations for Rio+20.
The structure of the three day conference was based around ‘tools’ which could be used to generate change and support the transition to a green economy.
The international observance of World Water Day is an initiative that grew out of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro.