Daegu World Water Forum in April
Italian Renaissance philosopher and playwright Leon Battista Alberti (1404-72) left a famous fable of a bow and arrows. After a victory, a king treated an arrow that killed the enemy general as a treasure and decided to dedicate it to the temple. When the bow learned of the decision, it said, “The arrow could only fly because the bow drew it.”
The lesson of the fable is about oblivion. While people praise flying arrows, not many pay attention to the bow that allowed the arrows to fly. Just like the arrow, an essential source of prosperity whose importance is being neglected is water.
Water is the source that keeps up survival and civilization of humanity. The four great civilizations were created by the water, and the quality of life has been improved along with water. But reckless use of water has led to a crisis in both quality and quantity. About 1 billion people, one in seven in the world, are suffering from shortage of water. According to the 2011 UN report “Our Common Future,” half of global population would be faced with water shortage by year 2025 at this rate, due to climate change and population growth. Concerned voices over water shortage and safety are increasing around the world, and each country is making efforts to secure clean and safe water sources. Earlier this year, World Economic Forum included water shortage as one of the three global risks.
Now that significance of water is being highlighted, the seventh World Water Forum is to be held in April in Daegu and North Gyeongsang province. The biggest water-themed international event was founded in 1997 based on understanding that the resolving the water issue is a task of the all humanity beyond individual nations or experts. The six past events have been attended by all interested parties around the world, from state heads, scholars, businesses, civil groups, media and citizens.
The seventh World Water Forum is different from past events, as the conventional Western-centric approach is analyzed and forecasted from Asia’s perspective. Lately, Asia experienced various water-related natural disasters, such as famine and super typhoons, and the forum would provide an opportunity to set up disaster response system. It will also be a chance to promote Korea’s water-related industry built on water management technology and know-how to the world.
2004 Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai of Kenya began planting seedlings to preserve the environment, and her “Green Belt” movement inspired more than 100,000 people around Africa to plant 30 million trees. A better future begins from each individual. Supports from all sectors and fields are needed to make the forum benefit the country and produce substantially helpful outcomes to the countries suffering from water shortage.
by Suh Seoung-hwan, Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transport