The program of panels and discussions of the world's largest event on water starts this Monday with an extensive agenda: more than 1300 lectures distributed in about 300 sessions. The debates may be watched by about ten thousand participants from more than 160 countries.

The themes that will underlie the discussions take into consideration the content, goals and recommendations of major global agreements on water and related matters, such as the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development (SDGs), notably SDG 6 on water and sanitation; the Paris Climate Agreement (COP-21); the Sendai Agreement on reduction of risks and natural disasters; the New Urban Agenda (Habitat III) and the 2012 Sustainable Development Agenda (Rio+20).

In all, five cases served as a guide for more than a thousand organizations to prepare the content: the political process, thematic process, and regional process of the citizen forum process and the sustainability focal group.

The Political Process has as main objective to encourage the engagement of political authorities at local/regional level in participation of debates on the water, understanding that the solutions in the management of this resource can only be implemented with policy decisions and strong leadership.

Throughout the week, the activities of the Political Process include, among others, the “Conference of Judges and Prosecutors”, which will bring together some 50 judges and prosecutors from various countries. This is the first in a series whose goal is the definition of the Declaration of Judges and Prosecutors for Water; and the “Conference of Ministers”, which brings together ministers of Environment, Water Resources and related areas.

One of the highlights of the process is the 1st International Water Court of Justice on Wednesday  (21), at 4:30pm. The idea is to promote a “Trial Simulation by the Water Court”, a collaborative, , transparent, and real-world effort to present and share with all participants of the 8th Forum and the global community.

The construction of the greater part of the programming of the Forum was the responsibility of the Thematic Process. The themes brought up revolve around agendas related to Climate, People, Development, Urban , Ecosystems, and Financing

The sessions of the Regional Process will bring, during the days of the event, the experiences and challenges of various regions, as well as solutions found.

The process integrated regional contributions to the Forum's program of the and encouraged regions to mobilize stakeholders, increase political commitment and create synergies at the local level to support progress to regional and national issues related to water, mainly through the organization of regional events.

The Citizen Forum Process aims to encourage effective civil society's participation – whether or not in an organized manner. Therefore, the discussions intended to engage in the discussions citizens that generally do not receive information about issues relating to water.

 Finally, the Focal Sustainability Group is cross-cutting to all other processes of the 8th Forum. The Group will promote a debate on the various aspects of the sustainable use of water resources, in light of multilateral commitments that already exist, and the observation of current challenges, especially in countries with sector institutions in difficulties or who suffer significant shortcomings, including difficulties of access to drinking water.

The highlights of the Focus Group are the discussion for the Declaration of Sustainability of the 8th Forum and the Business Day, which will bring together sector representatives to discuss a brazilian business agenda about water, bringing experts and domestic and international cases.

In addition to the processes, the themes of the discussions are aligned with the 16 implementation guidelines from the 7th World Water Forum, held in South Korea in 2015, and with 200 thousand contributions from visitors from more than 120 countries of the platform of the online consultation “Your Voice”, on the air since February of 2016.

The results of the 16 guidelines resulting from the 7th World Water Forum will be presented on Wednesday (21), showing how they have evolved in terms of implementation. The forums are held every three years and follow a continuous process: the construction of debates, exchange of ideas, discussions and recommendations that will be implemented over time.

On March 22, date on which is celebrated the World Water Day, there will be a special session to celebrate the date.

The closing solemnity of the  8th Forum will take place on Friday (23) with a diversified programming that includes sessions for presenting the final results of the Forum, musical performances, Kyoto Global Prize Award for Water and the official handing over of the baton to the Delegation of Senegal, host of the next World Water Forum in 2021.

Participatory process

According to the adviser of the content of the 8th World Water Forum, Glauco Kimura, this diversity of players involved in the construction of the schedule shows the plurality of voices that have contributed to enrich the discussions of the Forum. “The programming was built in a participatory way with the engagement of various organizations,” he said.

The thematic grid was formed by nine themes: climate, people, development, urban, ecosystems, funding, sharing, empowerment, and governance. Within each of them, water and its many facets will have space for experts from various areas to address water security and climate change; water, sanitation and health; water for sustainable development; integrated management of water and waste in urban environments; water quality, ecosystem sustainability, and biodiversity; funding for water security; sustainability through the involvement of stakeholders; education, capacity development and exchange of technologies; and water governance of the Agenda 2030 for the Sustainable Development.

The discussions of the Forum will result in statements with recommendations so that the results of the discussions will be useful for the creation of public policies, for example.