Bert Diphoorn is the Director of the Human Settlements Financing Division at UN-Habitat, the Agency responsible for coordinating this year's theme for World Water Day.
This is the first time in human history that most of the world's population lives in cities: 3.3 billion people... and the urban landscape continues to grow. According to the United Nations's publication "World Urbanization Prospects: The 2009 Revision", the urban areas of the world are expected to absorb all the population growth expected over the next four decades while at the same time drawing in some of the rural population. Globally, the level of urbanization is expected to rise from 50 per cent in 2009 to 69 per cent in 2050.
The theme of this year's World Water Day "Water and Urbanization" under the slogan "Water for Cities: Responding to the Urban Challenge" is focussing on raising awareness on the impact of rapid urban population growth, industrialization and uncertainties caused by climate change, conflicts and natural disasters on urban water systems. We aim to encourage action by governments, organizations, communities, and individuals around the world to actively engage in addressing urban water management challenges. UN-HABITAT is the coordinating agency on behalf of UN-Water for this year's event.
This year's global commemoration of World Water Day will be held in Cape Town, South Africa. The event is a joint collaboration of UN-Water, the African Ministers' Council on Water (AMCOW), the United Nations Secretary General's Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation (UNSGAB), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT).
The three-day global event will bring together approximately 1,500 international and local participants, comprising over 20 thematic sessions, 40 exhibitors and high-level panel debates.
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