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5th WWF calls for joint action on water challenges
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The UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were highlighted among all the discussions. One of the MDGs, created in 2000 during the millennium summit, is to halve the population without sustainable access to drinking water and sanitation by 2015.

"The 5th World Water Forum comes at a crucial time, since more than half of the time proposed to achieve the MDGs has passed," said Oktay Tabasaran, secretary general of the forum.

Water privatization turned out to be a thorny issue which officials avoided to mention. Some 200 activists of the People's Water Forum, a counter forum of the official one, convened Thursday to protest against water privatization and present alternative visions of water management.

On the opening day of the forum, Turkish police prevented a group, which accused the forum of water commercialization, from protesting in front of the main venue.

Global cooperation highlighted

The future of water resources "does not only rest on technological progress, but also and mostly on political commitments," WWC President Loic Fauchon said at the opening ceremony.

"Water is the life line for human survival and development, also a critical material foundation for sustainable social and economic development," Chinese Minister of Water Resources Chen Lei said Friday, or the "Asia-Pacific Day" of the forum.

Moreover, participants at all levels reached the consensus that cooperation on water is crucial among technocrats, policy makers, local authorities, research institutions and states.

China, Japan and South Korea inked a joint statement during the forum to insure exchange mechanisms and promote trilateral cooperation on the ubiquitous resource.

According to the statement, the three sides shared the view that it's crucial to speed up the tripartite cooperation in an effort to strengthen mutual partnership.

They recognized that a platform is needed for the three countries to share information simultaneously and discuss coordinated actions since the risks are both regional and global.

"Bridging Divides for Water, the over-arching theme of the 5th World Water Forum, has reflected the pressing need for international cooperation to address global water crisis," said Chen Lei.

(Xinhua News Agency March 23, 2009)

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