The FAO-Netherlands International Conference on Water for Food and
Ecosystems will be held in The Hague, The Netherlands, from 31 January
to 4 February 2005. This document provides a preliminary outline of
the Conference, its topics, content and scope. It addresses:
- Background and rationale of the Conference
- The Conference's goal and scope
- Themes governing the Conference
- Conference preparatory and special events,
including an e-forum, regional partner seminars and an African pre-Conference
Over the past years a range of objectives and targets have been set
by the international community that direct policies and programmes for
sustainable water management (e.g. WSSD, WFS, WWF).
This Conference will focus on the implementation in a coherent manner
of international commitments relevant to water for food and ecosystems.
Rather than new promises, we need tools to make our commitments take
effect on the ground.
The Conference aims at identifying successful processes that lead to
best practices for achieving sustainable land and water development
through Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) with an ecosystem
approach. It also seeks to assist governments and organizations in implementing
programmes on water for food and ecosystems.
The Conference will encourage, therefore, the full participation of
all involved stakeholders to "help make it happen", by collecting,
sharing and disseminating practical tools for best practices and policies
- i.e., what is working well, what is promising, obstacles that hamper
effective progress and how these can be addressed. In addition, generic
lessons, conclusions and implications relevant to policymakers and practitioners
will be discussed.
The Conference will be open to invited national government delegations
and international organizations (approximately 350 delegates in total).
It is anticipated that national delegations will include representatives
of Ministries of Planning, Economy, Water, Agriculture and the Environment,
who have a crucial role in guiding and contributing to the implementation
of coherent policies.
The 2004 Electronic Forum Process, Partner Seminars and an African
Pre-Conference will provide the opportunity for all stakeholders - including
the private sector, NGOs and research communities - to participate in
the Conference preparatory phase and to generate and articulate their
views on, and share experiences with, best practices and policies. Their
findings will be shared with the 2005 Conference delegations.
The Conference themes and side-events will raise and review key questions
for achieving sustainable water management in food/agriculture and ecosystems.
The themes and side-events will provide a framework for the contribution
and participation of programmes and specialists in the areas of policy
development and implementation, institutional arrangements, technical
knowledge and development, and economic aspects. Each theme will focus
on the triple elements of water, food/agriculture and ecosystems and
The side- and special events will allow for elaboration of specific
sub-themes issues that are of particular relevance to one or more of
the Conference themes and/or provide relevant illustrations of innovations
and good practices. The list of events in this document is preliminary,
and open for change and additions. Additional information and revised
versions of this document will be posted on the Conference website.
It is expected that insights and experiences shared at the Conference
will find their application in improved actions aimed at implementation
at the national and local level and reinforce and establish (inter)national
Partnerships in Water for Food and Ecosystems. As such, the Conference
will also directly contribute to the implementation of related policies
and programmes within the framework of the WSSD Plan of Implementation
and CSD13, the CBD decisions and working programmes, Ramsar, the FAO,
and other international fora.