The 9th World Water Forum is organized from March 21 to 25 in Dakar. The Coalition Eau (Water Coalition), which Human Dignity is part of, is mobilizing to share its solutions with the global water community. However, a few days before the opening, it is clear that the ambitions of the Forum in terms of political mobilization and inclusive participation have been revised downwards.
Organized a year late, due to the pandemic, the World Water Forum (WWF) is taking place for the first time in sub-Saharan Africa, at the initiative of Senegal, host country of this edition and co-organizer with the World Water Council.
This Forum has raised many hopes. The ambition was to mark a break with previous forums, through a renewed framework for action and large-scale political mobilization around two summits of world and African heads of state (extraordinary summit of the African Union). The World Water Council and Senegal also ensured that they wanted to give an important place to civil society in the programmatic and political work.
CIVIL SOCIETY: THE GREAT ABSENTEE?
Despite the declared will of the organizers to promote the participation of civil society, this comes up against multiple obstacles : registration and exhibition fees that are inaccessible for many associations including Human Dignity, the very late setting up (at 2 weeks of the Forum) of a financial support mechanism, the lack of spokespersons at the Opening or in the high-level political segments.
There are also travel difficulties linked to the pandemic, for an event organized in a face-to-face format only, and which should logically experience less mobilization of all categories of actors.
Several international NGOs have been involved in programmatic work for several years to put their priorities on the agenda of the Forum. However, partners with limited means, smaller associations, representatives of communities and users will hardly be represented.
Efforts have however been made towards young people, with the establishment of a low-cost youth rate, which has enabled the forum to be opened up to world youth .
But the tendency is that, from edition to edition, the place of civil society evolves randomly within the FME. This lack of inclusiveness only weakens the results and credibility of the GEF process as a whole.