Water resources have become increasingly important worldwide
since water is at the core of sustainable water management for the well-being of populations and for the development of countries.
Brazil holds 12% of the planet's freshwater reserves, making up 53% of South America's water resources. Much of the country's borders are defined by bodies of water - 83 border and transboundary rivers, in addition to hydrographic basins and of aquifers. The transboundary river basins occupy 60% of the Brazilian territory.
Brazil promotes initiatives aimed at strengthening cooperation in water resources management, in order to guarantee full access to water for the populations of the region. In the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (ACTO), water resources represent an appropriate theme for cooperation, in view of the enormous water potential shared by the countries of the Amazon basin.
At the bilateral level, Brazil and its neighbors collaborate with a view to the integrated management of border and transboundary water resources.
For Brazil, water resources management must be guided by Agenda 21 and refer to the principles contained in the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development (1992), in particular to its 2nd principle - according to which States have the right to exploit its resources in conformity with its environmental and development policies. On the other hand, States have a responsibility to ensure that activities carried out in their jurisdiction or under their control do not cause damage to the environment of other countries or areas outside national boundaries.
Brazil endorses international resolutions and declarations recognizing the human right to clean water and sanitation, reiterating that this right does not create obligations that are required between States. Water is a strategic natural resource, whose management is within the scope of national sovereignty, constituting the State's responsibility towards its citizens.
Brazil is committed to meeting Sustainable Development Objective (SDG) No. 6 - Ensure access and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.
With regard to the protection and sustainable management of wetlands, Brazil has been a party since 1993 to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands - which has acquired new priorities related to the sustainable use of biodiversity and the management of water resources over time, despite originally aimed at preserving the habitats of migratory species of waterfowl. Brazil has 25 areas registered on the Ramsar List of Sites of Wetlands of International Importance, whose management is coordinated by the Ministry of the Environment. Within the scope of the Convention, Brazil is part of three Regional Initiatives aimed at the conservation of the region's wetlands: the "initiative for the conservation and rational use of the La Plata Basin"; the "regional initiative for the comprehensive management and rational use of mangrove and coral ecosystems" and the "initiative for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands in the Amazon Basin.
Governments, NGOs and civil society participate in the World Water Forum, a triennial event organized by the non-governmental organization World Water Council (WWC). The Forum aims to promote dialogue between different sectors involved with the theme of water resources and influence the decision-making process on the creation of new political, legal and institutional frameworks. The event has three components: the Forum itself (thematic and political sessions and meetings); the Fair / Exhibition, which represents business opportunities for companies in the sector and Vila Cidadã (Citizen Village), in which cultural and interactive activities aim to raise awareness about the importance of water and sanitation.
Eight editions of the event have already taken place: Marrakesh, Morocco, 1997; The Hague, Holland, 2000; Kyoto, Japan, 2003; Mexico City, Mexico, 2006; Istanbul, Turkey, 2009; Marseille, France, 2012; Daegu and Gyeongju, South Korea, 2015 and Brasilia, 2018. Despite not being an intergovernmental forum, the World Water Forum is today considered the main environment for international dialogue between different sectors involved with the theme of water resources, with broad participation by civil society.
On March 18-23, 2018 Brasília hosted the eighth edition of the event (WWF 8), the first time it was held in the southern hemisphere. The WWF 8, whose slogan was "Sharing Water", brought together more than 10,500 participants from 172 countries, who attended around 300 thematic sessions. In addition to 11 authorities at the level of heads of state and government, mayors, governors, parliamentarians, members of the judiciary, representatives of international organizations, academia, businessmen and members of civil society were present. Vila Cidadã received more than 100 thousand visitors, including more than 50 thousand children and 3 thousand teachers. The diversity of participants and spaces of interaction gave the Brasília Forum a unique and inclusive character.
The 8th World Water Forum, with its multidisciplinary nature, great diversity of actors and inclusive character, contributed to increasing the visibility of the water issue, advancing the sustainability agenda. Its format and breadth pointed to the path of broad and inclusive dialogue, transversal treatment of the theme and cooperation among different actors.