Environment Directorate

Global Forum on Sustainable Development: Financing Water and Environmental Infrastructure for All


Adequate access to water services is essential for life. However, ensuring such access requires substantial capital investments and recurrent costs over long periods of time. The goal of Global Forum, held on 18-19 December 2003 at the OECD, was to review the policies, tools and mechanisms that can enable governments to meet their water-related objectives. This Conference built upon the first Global Forum on Sustainable Development on Financing the Environmental Dimension of Sustainable Development in 2002 and on the work carried by the OECD, the World Bank and other national and international organisations.

This Conference facilitated a dialogue between OECD Members and non-Members on financing water and environmental infrastructure. It brought together senior government officials, business people, academics, researchers and NGOs, from OECD Member countries and from non-Members. The Conference was organised in co-operation with the World Bank and the USEPA.

The discussions at the conference paid particular attention to the needs of poor and vulnerable groups who may be adversely affected by increases in tariffs, and to the contributions that capital and financial markets can play in the provision of water services.

The Conference did not aim to address financing issues in a comprehensive way; rather the agenda has been structured around four main issues:

    • financing strategies for water and environmental infrastructure
    • ensuring access of poor and vulnerable groups to water and sanitation services
    • optimising the role of national and local public budgets, and
    • mobilising local capital and financial markets.








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