President Fox of Mexico receives Children’s Plea for Clean and Green Water

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Tales of Water’ launched at high-level opening of 4th World Water Forum

Mexico City , Mexico , 16 March 2006 (IUCN) – President Vicente Fox of Mexico received the photo book ‘Tales of Water’ at the opening ceremony of the 4 th World Water Forum yesterday.

‘Tales of Water’ is a worldwide multimedia project of the World Conservation Union that puts the spotlight on the views of children on water and water management. It comprises a book with photos and stories from children, a documentary series, and films to evoke discussion at the Forum.

“The way children interact with water and live the problems we are discussing at this Forum cuts right through the technical debates of water managers and scientists. They show us there are urgent reasons to combine the provision of clean water with the conservation of water resources”, said Ger Bergkamp, Head of the IUCN Water Programme.

President Vicente Fox Quesada received the exclusive gift from Frida Huinaque, a young girl from the Mexican Chiapas region whose house was destroyed by hurricane Stan. Together with ten other children she took centre stage during the opening ceremony, where dignitaries from around the world gathered to draw attention to the growing water crisis.

It is hoped that the voices of children will encourage the water scientists, managers and ministers gathered at the 4 th World Water Forum in Mexico City (16-22 March 2006) to address the death of 2.2 million people per year from diseases associated with a lack of access to sanitation or safe drinking water, and the ongoing destruction of nature by the human overuse of water.

The theme of this year’s Forum is ‘ Local Actions for a Global Challenge’.

“The West is addicted to oil, but the whole of humankind is addicted to water…and this is one addiction that cannot be cured”, said Prince Willem Alexander of the Netherlands in his speech at the opening ceremony.

Following the opening ceremony, the Dutch Crown Prince visited the exhibition of the World Conservation Union, where he was welcomed by Director General Achim Steiner.

The IUCN booth showcases water projects from around the world and welcomes delegates, partners and members from around the world to share experiences and forge alliances during this 4 th World Water Forum.

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