5th World Water Forum

16-22 March 2009 | Istanbul, Turkey


The 5th World Water Forum, held from March 16 to 22, 2009, brought together 33,058 attendees in total, from 192 countries with the overarching theme of "Bridging Divides for Water". These participants gathered with both urgency and hope, to contribute their solutions and perspectives to some of mankind’s greatest current challenges.


5th World Water Forum Summary Report (Turkish)

5th World Water Forum Summary Report (English)



The Political Process of the 5th World Water Forum built on the successful inclusion of local authorities and parliamentarians, established at the 4th World Water Forum, allied to the ministerial process, and for the first time at a World Water Forum invited a limited number of Heads of State to attend a specialy-organized Summit. Each of these political processes yielded specific outcomes, which were followed-up after the Forum.


The Heads of States Summit: The Heads of States Summit concluded with the “Istanbul Declaration of Heads of States on Water”, focusing on promoting water solidarity and security in their countries, as well as the tools needed to face up to climate change.


Istanbul Declaration of Heads of States on Water



The Ministerial Conference: The Ministerial Conference resulted in the “Istanbul Ministerial Statement” and the “Istanbul Water Guide”, a list of 140 recommendations, which provide guidance on how to improve water security and water management.


Istanbul Water Guide (Turkish)

Istanbul Water Guide (English)


Local Authorities Process: The outcome of the Local Authorities Process, the “Istanbul Water Consensus”, was a commitment to prepare and implement action plans and strategies for water-related challenges in cities around the world, and report on the progress at the next World Water Forum in 2012. 59 cities including the 11 Champion Cities, including Istanbul, Paris, Vienna, and Buenos Aires, have committed to the objectives of the Istanbul Water Consensus during and before the Forum week. The ongoing process enabled more and more cities to be a part of the Consensus, to which currently more than 200 cities have committed.


Istanbul Water Consensus (Turkish)

Istanbul Water Consensus



Parliaments for Water: The Parliaments for Water meeting ended with series of proposals on water-related policies. The document also indicates the necessity to create a “Parliamentarians Helpdesk” in the upcoming year to aid political cooperation on water legislation and its implementation.


The six major global themes discussed at the Forum – Global Changes and Risk Management; Advancing Human Development and the MDGs; Managing and Protecting Water Resources and their Supply Systems to Meet Human and Environmental Needs, Governance and Management; Finance; and Education, Knowledge and Capacity Development – brought together 23 more specific topics. These topics in turn were the basis for the 111 thematic sessions, which debated what actions need to be carried out in order to meet these global challenges. Five High-Level Panels addressed the nexuses between water, food and energy; finance; sanitation; disasters; and adaptation to climate change.



Seven regional sessions, Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas; MENA/ Arab countries, In and Around Turkey and the Mediterranean, allowed the particular water-related perspectives of each of the regions of the world to be shared with Forum participants. Among their different priorities, they all pointed out the need for transboundary cooperation on water resources management and adaptive measurements to manage emerging water challenges, such as climate change, growing populations and migration. Each regional process, which mobilised local actors in defining their priority issues, presented their report at the Forum.


Side events was a varied, rich and lively component of the Forum. The 113 side events broadened the range of topics discussed and tackling the issues not fully covered in the official sessions. They covered a range of issues and formats, from workshops and presentations, to documentary screenings, ceremonies, cocktails and book launches.


The World Water Expo and Fair provided platforms for hundreds of organizations, companies, governments and intergovernmental organizations from all over the world to present their water-related activities and solutions.


The outcomes of the 5th World Water Forum, including the political statements, regional outcomes, thematic recommendations, Children’s Declaration and Youth Declaration are compiled in the Global Water Framework report.


Global Water Framework Report (English)

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