Water was a major topic of conversation at the World Economic Forum 2008 (WEF) now coming to a close in Davos, Switzerland.
At the forum, according to the Environmental News Service, Bill Gates announced a grant of $306 million dollars for development projects to help boost yields of crops for farmers in developing countries. It is unclear whether a portion of this money will be devoted to water conservation practices in conjunction with agriculture. Also discussed was implementation of a cap and trade system for water supplies and the importance of market forces in water allocation.
Leaders at the forum pledged renewed support for the UN’s Millennium Development Goals, of which one goal is to increase access to safe drinking water.
Created as a venue for dialogue, research, and networking among economic and political leaders, the WEF is often criticized for more talk rather than action, a membership majority of industrialized countries (primarily USA, Europe, and Asia), and limited media access to specified plenary sessions.
While members of the WEF did review the importance of water in the coming age, no definitive plan was drafted to move our global society in that direction. However, maybe discussions during the event will leave lasting impressions on these economic leaders. And gradually, they will come to the realization that water is more than a commodity, but a necessity of life.
Be sure to check out other blog posts on this issue… our friends at WaterWired give additional perspective on how water was incorporated into the WEF agenda.
For an insiders look at the WEF 2008, check out this NPR story: The Wacky World Economic Forum.