The world's largest water event will travel to the southern hemisphere for the first time. The 8th World Water Forum takes place in Brasilia, Brazil in March 2018, and people from around the world are invited to join the preparations by suggesting themes for discussion and exchanging ideas and experiences on an online platform, a first in the history of the event.

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Beginning on 13 February this year, people from around the world will have a digital platform to voice their opinions and help prepare the 8th World Water Forum. The event, which takes place from 18 to 23 March 2018 in Brasilia, has elected Sharing Water as its underlying theme, and this time there is a new initiative: the Your Voice platform - available on the 8th World Water Forum website - was created to encourage broad debate on the event’s central themes. 

The tool allows people from anywhere in the world with internet access to share ideas, experiences and solutions and make suggestions to be included in the global meeting’s discussions. The discussions will take place in online rooms with six different themes: climate, development, ecosystems, financing, people and urban.

Participants will have the opportunity to express their views and contributions on the future of water during three rounds of discussions. The rounds will last eight weeks each, with the first debates beginning on February 13 and closing in April, and will be followed by a worldwide vote to identify the most relevant issues concerning water. The online discussions are coordinated by Brazil's National Water Agency (ANA), co-organiser of the 8th Forum, in conjunction with the Executive Secretariat and other organising bodies of the Forum itself.

Each themed room will feature three or four moderators, at least one of which Brazilian, with subtopics to be addressed in each individual area: climate will discuss water security and climate change; basic sanitation and health will be the focus of the people room; the development room will discuss water in the context of sustainable development; the urban theme will focus on integrated water and urban waste management practices; on ecosystems, the guiding thread will be 'water quality and the subsistence and biodiversity of ecosystems'; finally, finance will debate funding mechanisms for water security. 

The Your voice platform will be available in Portuguese and English at http://www.worldwaterforum8.org/, and will also feature translation for 90 more languages to facilitate the participation of people in most countries of the world. The goal is to make the 8th World Water Forum a pluralistic and democratic event, in line with the underlying theme for this edition: "Sharing Water”.

Traditionally, the Forum is attended by leading experts, managers and organisations involved with the issue of water on the planet. Keenly conscious of how water is an integral part of the lives of all, the Forum’s organisation created the Your voice platform in the hope of bringing the event closer to the contributions of the entire society, including from voices that often go unheard.

The World Water Forum takes place every three years. Its goals are to emphasise the importance of water on the political agenda of governments, promote deeper discussions on issues, foster the exchange of experiences and formulate concrete proposals for challenges related to water resources.

The 8th edition of the Forum is being organised by the Brazilian Federal Government, the Federal District and the World Water Council. Previous editions of the World Water Forum took place in Marrakech, Morocco (1997); Hague, the Netherlands (2000); Kyoto, Shiga and Osaka, Japan (2003); Mexico City, Mexico (2006); Istanbul, Turkey (2009); Marseilles, France (2012); and Daegu and Gyeongbuk, Republic of Korea (2015).