(Brasilia, 05/10/2017) The goal of the 5th National Training Meeting on Environmental Education for Water Management, a preparatory event for the 8th World Water Forum, is to promote discussions and reflections that may contribute to the Citizen’s Forum. Representatives of the Brazilian government, international organizations and educators from river basin committees from the five regions of the country participated in the opening event. The meeting began on Tuesday (9) and will end on Saturday (11), in Brasilia.
Taciana Leme, social participation secretary of the Citizen’s Forum of the 8th World Water Forum, highlighted the importance of pre-fora as preparatory events to debate the water use in Brazil. “The Citizen’s Forum enables this dialogue, something that previous fora didn’t have”, she reminded. This initiative is an opportunity to reach out to people from all social sectors – from politicians to society. “The citizen’s voice enhances the importance of this debate in the World Forum”, she emphasized.
The director of the Brazilian National Water Agency (ANA), Gisela Forattini, also stressed the importance of the debates on water resource management. She mentioned that the agency has been working on the draft of a document named “Legacy for Water Management in Brazil”, which will be presented during the 8th World Water Forum. The civil society and the sectors related to this theme are currently participating in the discussions.
The Coordinator of the UN-Environment’s Environmental Training Network for Latin America and the Caribbean, Isabel Martinez, remembered the fight against water contamination. “Latin America has a third of the world water resources, many of which are polluted and affect about 25 million people”. The lack of basic sanitation in many areas of this region affects 100 million people. “We have ambitious goals for a favorable environment between 2020 and 2030. These can only be achieved with participative education and policies that emphasize the dialogue with the society”, she pointed out.
Tatiana Silva, a youth delegate from the World Water Council, complimented the possibility of youngsters having space and voice in pre-fora. “We represent 30% of the global population. Our generation will harvest the fruits of current water management. We need to be engaged and bring up reflections in the 8th World Forum that go beyond our reality”, she highlighted.
Before the event’s official opening ceremony, educators representing river basin committees from all Brazilian regions presented what has been done in the states with regard to the promotion of environmental education and for the improvement of water resource management. Currently, there are more than 240 river basin committees in Brazil.
Davis Miranda, from Tocantins, reminded that although Brazil has 12% of the world water resources, the abundance of water is relative and poor management may severely affect this scenario. “We need to drive our attention towards the management and the debate. It is very important to include Tocantins-Araguaia region in the preparation of the World Forum”, he stated. Marcio Cabral, from Goias, emphasized that the environmental education and charging for water use are priorities for Goias river basin committee. “Despite our region being politicized, we don’t have the ideal outcome. We are aware of environmental education, but our behavior needs to change”, he said.
An interministerial ordinance to hold training meetings every two years was signed by the Secretary of Institutional Articulation and Environmental Citizenship – Ministry of Environment, Edson Duarte. “The meetings are among the priorities of the National Water Resource Plan for the next four years and the mobilization of educators is a milestone for the 8th edition of the World Forum”, he stated. The Ministry of Environment and the National Water Agency will be responsible for these meetings.
According to Duarte, these meetings are fundamental opportunities for building social values and competences the preserve the environment and improve the water management, especially now that we see extreme climate events, such as floods, and increases in water consumption for various purposes. “Environmental education is essential and there is collective responsibility. It is necessary to show that each person can do their own part, or the cities will collapse”, he concluded.
National Training Meetings on Environmental Education for Water Management
Created by the Technical Chamber of Education, Capacity, Social Mobilization and Information on Water Resources, these National Training Meetings constitute a strategy to dialogue and strengthen the training process within the scope of environmental education for better water use. Previous meetings were held in Salvador (Bahia, 2009), Bento Gonçalves (Rio Grande do Sul, 2011), Ouro Preto (Minas Gerais, 2013) and São Pedro (São Paulo, 2015).