According to the 2021 progress report on SDG 6.2 billion people still lack access to safely managed drinking water, 3.6 billion people lack access to safely managed sanitation, and 2.3 billion people are without a basic handwashing facility. This situation calls for immediate action to improve these basic services, essential for health, but also for poverty reduction, food security, peace, human rights, ecosystems and education.
It is in this context that the 9th World Water Forum, organized at the halfway point through the 2030 agenda, is focused on action in favor of water under the theme "Water Security for Peace and Development”.
The action framework that guided the development of the content of the Dakar Forum 2022 is based on the intention to create coherence with the Sustainable Development Goals and to contribute directly to their achievement.
To do this, the development of the theme of the Forum is articulated around four fundamental priorities, allowing a fertile transversal exchange between all stakeholders:
- Water Security and Sanitation, which covers access to water and sanitation at household level as well as water quality, water stress, and the protection of the resource.
- Water for Rural Development. This priority focuses on the development of water and sanitation services in rural areas, in particular universal access to drinking water, water for agriculture and stock keeping, and water for nature.
- Cooperation, in order to ensure integrated management of transboundary water resources and promote peace and prevent conflicts;
- The “Tools and Means” to implement the policies and solutions identified for water security in an effective, efficient and inclusive manner.
The work of each priority is coordinated by a Steering Group, which oversees 5 or 6 groups of actions which are to be elaborated during the Forum. Each of these actions is an operationalization of the commitments made under the Dakar Declaration, for which endorsement will be sought at the level of heads of state. The Steering Groups are supported by the Advisory Groups which act as a broader community of practice and involve a variety of stakeholders.
During two years of exchanges prior to the Forum, the interaction between the Steering Groups and the Advisory Groups was a combination of a top-down process and a bottom-up process, which enabled the detailed development of the Dakar programme, including:
- Key Messages for Ministers, Parliamentarians, local Councillors, and River Basin Organisations. These messages form the basis of the links and synergies between the thematic component and the political segments (ministerial, parliamentary, local/territorial authorities, basin organizations).
- Actions which resulted in 92 ordinary thematic sessions (OTS) including 21 for the "water security and sanitation" priority, 22 for the "water for rural development" priority, 23 for the "cooperation" priority and 26 for the “tools and means” priority. An OTS is a session specifically linked to the action plans developed by the Action Groups of the Forum's four priorities. Directly linked to the thematic framework of the Forum, the OTS are the result of active stakeholder engagement and participation, including a consultative process. Each OTS will contribute to the expected thematic outcomes and overall outcomes of the 9th Forum.