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Published on 26/10/2011

5 months until the World Water Forum, GRET is gearing up

Five months before the World Water Forum in Marseille, GRET is preparing to speak for developing country populations. It is mobilizing its 30 years of field experience in the domain of water (drinking water, sanitation, agricultural water, integrated resource management) to contribute to the discussions during this major international event. Overview of ongoing activities, alongside its civil society partners.

Defend All Water Uses During the World Forum

The World Water Forum is an important event for the international community that has set for itself the goal of meeting the global water challenges, from access to water for all to climate change and to food security. The 6th World Water Forum will be held in Marseille, France, on March 12 to 17, 2012, on the theme of “Time for Solutions.” It aims to promote “promising” solutions that can be replicated by the stakeholders concerned around 12 priorities for action and, in this aim, gives civil society a large role in the process.

GRET is a French NGO that works on different water uses: drinking water and sanitation, agricultural water, and social management of water as a natural resource. This crosscutting approach to water allows it to understand the many water-related issues and contribute to the Forum. Convinced of the need to not create an opposition between these different uses, for the good of all, GRET helps various groups of local actors—water users, public authorities, local private businesses, collectivities, etc.—set up and secure water access models for poor populations. No matter which water use, the model GRET defends always responds to the requirements of technical innovation, social considerations, institutional issues (increasing professionalism among stakeholders, strengthening public authorities), and adaptation to the local context (there is no one single ideal model—the right solution is the one best suited to the context).

Participate in the Forum’s Official Thematic Process

On its own or with its partners, GRET leads three target groups in the framework of the World Water Forum. These groups’ conclusions will be presented during the official Forum, making these groups privileged arenas in which to construct ideas. GRET leads these groups and makes direct contributions to them based on its own experience and taking advantage of its development references.

  • On sanitation, GRET leads the target group on evacuation and treatment of wastewater and excreta. As part of the “improve access to integrated sanitation services for all” theme, this group aims to find solutions to “reduce by 25% by 2020 the percentage of people whose wastewater is neither collected nor treated properly.”
  • On drinking water, GRET and the AFD co-run the target group on mechanisms by which to monitor drinking water services in small and medium agglomerations. Within the “guarantee access to water for all and the Right to water” theme, the group should propose solutions to attain the goal: “by 2020 more than half of countries in each continent have organized a simple, inclusive and reliable reporting mechanism for water supply that includes every local water service provider in rural and urban areas.”
  • On agricultural water, GRET coordinates, as head of Coordination SUD’s Agriculture and Food Commission, the “water and food security to facilitate access to water for smallholder farms” group. Within the “contribute to food security by optimal use of water” theme, this group aims to contribute to the discussions in order to “by 2015, elaborate international agricultural water-related guidelines to support smallholder farmers in order to better manage agricultural water, produce more goods and services.” GRET’s contribution to the discussions is based in particular on two case studies.

Beyond coordinating these target groups, GRET will contribute to other themes, in particular on issues relating to drinking water access for rural and poor populations and strategic sanitation planning.

Participate in and Contribute to Collective Dynamics

Heavily involved in collective dynamics in its 16 areas of expertise (GRET has notably acted as vice-president of Coordination SUD since 2009), GRET confirms its investment alongside other civil society actors on water issues.

As an active member of the Water Coalition, GRET defends collective positions, in particular on the subject of financing access to drinking water and sanitation, and will be present at the Water Coalition’s stand during the Forum. Through the Water Coalition, GRET is also part of the international water-sector NGO mobilization titled “The Butterfly Effect.”

As head of Coordination SUD’s Agriculture and Food Commission and its agricultural water sub-group, GRET has contributed greatly to the elaboration of a shared position that it will defend during the Forum. In addition, Coordination SUD will attend the Alternative World Water Forum.

Finally, GRET has participated in the Biodiversity and Development group since its creation by the AFD and French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs during the previous summit on biodiversity. GRET contributed three case studies to a Green Paper produced by the group with the aim of formulating recommendations on sustainable farming systems in dry zones.

Learn More About GRET’s Water-Related Activities and Positions

GRET has 30 years of field experience in the water sector and is preparing a position paper based on its experience for the Forum. GRET’s latest professional publications on this subject can be found on its website (

A Few References (in french) :