World Water Forum: An insufficient commitment to humanitarian crises

Published on Tuesday 14 April 2015

Although the number of humanitarian crises in the world is ever-increasing, the commitments made by states participating in the 7th World Water Forum – currently underway in South Korea – are far from what is required if NGOs are to meet the challenges they face. Action contre la Faim, Secours Islamique France, and Solidarités International are disappointed by this outcome, and have chosen to take the opportunity to highlight the importance of systematically linking humanitarian responses with the development agenda.


On March 13th 2012, during the last World Water Forum, which took place in Marseille, participating states ratified a declaration of commitment which, for the first time, confirmed the essential role played by the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene sector in responses to humanitarian crises. Indeed, the development of national disaster prevention strategies, coupled with the coordination of actions and the funding of projects, facilitate the transition from emergency to development.

Unfortunately, the impact of 2012’s breakthrough declaration has not been sufficiently felt in South Korea this week. The ministerial declaration produced during the forum highlights climate change and technical innovation, both of which are issues that are more relevant to the COP21, due to take place in Paris in December. Humanitarian NGOs, heavily involved in crisis response, are happy to support any constructive commitment which will mean that climate change is more effectively addressed, thereby minimising its impact on the most vulnerable. We also believe that is essential that we continue to innovate, in a way that is adapted to the most complicated contexts and the most isolated populations.

However, reducing humanitarian crises to only one element – climate change – means neglecting five sixths of the people affected by these crises: an estimated total of 300 million every year.

Action contre la Faim, Secours Islamique France, Solidarités International would hereby like to reaffirm:

– The importance of coordination between actors, as part of the ongoing Humanitarian Reform agenda;
– The need to strengthen the link between emergency, reconstruction and development, on both operational and financial levels;
– The need to accompany states towards resilience and in the development of the disaster prevention strategies, with a view to better pre-empting crises.

Humanitarian NGOs expect states to fully commit themselves to tackling these challenges, notably through a series of pivotal events in the months to come: the United Nations conference on funding, due to take place in Addis Ababa in July; the United Nations General Assembly, due to take place in September; and December’s COP21.

Available for interview in South Korea and in Paris:
– Alain Boinet, founder of Solidarités International and Jean-Marc Leblanc, Water, Hygiene and Sanitation specialist
– Press contact for Solidarités International: Tugdual de Dieuleveult – tdedieuleveult@solidarites.org  / +33 (0)1 76 21 87 11 / +33 (0)6 64 92 50 37