The World Water Forum, organized every three years by the World Water Council in close collaboration with the authorities of the hosting country, is the largest international event in the field of water. It primarily serves four main purposes:
- To raise the importance of water on the political agenda
- To support the deepening of discussions towards the solution of international water issues in the 21st century
- To formulate concrete proposals and bring their importance to the world's attention
- To generate political commitment
The successive editions of the World Water Forum have served as stepping-stones towards global collaboration on water problems. The Forum offers the water community and decision-makers from all over the world the unique opportunity to make recommendations for ensuring the security of water resources in the different parts of the world.
The 1st World Water Forum was held in Marrakech, Morocco, in 1997. This Forum led to the preparation of a “Vision for Water, Life and the Environment in the 21st Century”, whose results were discussed during the 2nd World Water Forum in 2000 in The Hague, Netherlands. A great number of Governments and organisations from the water sector committed themselves to work towards its concretisation. As a privileged witness of these commitments, the Council has since verified the implementation of promised actions in this direction.
In March 2003, the 3rd World Water Forum in Kyoto, Japan, clearly stated its resolution to involve all stakeholders through, for example, the creation of a “Virtual Water Forum” and the gathering of thousands of testimonies within the “Voices of Water.” The Council, following its commitments made at the 2nd World Water Forum, presented its “World Water Actions” Report: an inventory of 3000 actions on the ground. By gathering more than 24,000 participants, the 3rd World Water Forum was the largest water-related event ever organised. One hundred and thirty ministers attended the Ministerial Conference. Several hundred commitments were made both during the Forum and during the Ministerial Conference. Each session-organiser was also asked to formulate a list of concrete actions to be set up in the near future.
For the 4th edition, the World Water Forum was organised for the first time on the American continent in Mexico City, gathering approximately 20,000 participants.