Organized by the World Water Council, the World Water Forum is the foremost international event in the water sector and, every three years, a country and a city are selected to host this important event.

To date, seven fora have been held: in Marrakesh, Morocco, 1997; The Hague, Netherlands, 2000; Kyoto, Japan, 2003; Mexico City, Mexico, 2006; Istanbul, Turkey, 2009; Marseille, France, 2012; and Gyeongju and Daegu, Republic of Korea in 2015.

The 8th World Water Forum will be held in Brazil, in the city of Brasília, March 18 to 23, 2018, and it will be the first time a World Water Forum is held in the Southern Hemisphere.

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The 1st World Water Forum, held in Marrakesh, Morocco, in 1997, brought together some 400 participants for discussions on the role of drinking water in sustainable development, emphasizing key themes, such as sanitation, energy and environment.

The 2nd World Water Forum, held in The Hague, Netherlands, in 2000, brought together some 5,700 participants from 130 countries, and addressed the overarching theme “Water Vision for the Future”, with discussions focusing on water-resources management, financial models for the sector, environmental impacts, and poverty reduction.

The 3rd World Water Forum, held in Kyoto, Japan in 2003, brought together 12,000 participants including some 1,000 journalists and 130 ministers of state from over 100 countries. The agenda gave priority to discussion of commitments made by the international community, with a view to promoting greater institutional networking for facing up to future challenges.

The 4th World Water Forum, held in Mexico City, in 2006, brought together some 15,000 participants, including 1,500 journalists, official representatives of 140 countries, 120 mayors, and 78 ministers of state. Among the themes discussed were “water for growth and development”, “implementing integrated water-resources management”, “drinking water and sanitation for all”, “water for food and environment” and “risk management”.

The 5th World Water Forum, held in Istanbul, Turkey, in 2009, brought together more than 25,000 participants. The overarching theme of the event, “Bridging Divides for Water”, encompassed approaches such as: “global change and risk management”, “progressing with human development and the Millennium Development Goals”, “managing and protecting water resources”, “governance and management”, “finance for the water-resources sector” and “education, knowledge and skills development”.

The 6th World Water Forum, held in Marseille, in 2012, brought together more than 35,000 guests from 173 countries, of which 20,000 participated in its Technical, Regional and Political sessions. Among the attendees were: 15 Heads of State and of Government and secretaries of the European Community; 112 Ministers, Vice-Ministers and Secretaries of State; 176 official delegations and international organizations; over 750 members of local and provincial governments, including 250 mayors; 250 members of parliament; over 500 companies and sponsor institutions; 2,800 representatives of NGOs and of civil society; and 900 accredited journalists.

The 7th World Water Forum, held in the city of Daegu and Gyeongbuk, in 2015, brought together more than 40,000 participants from 168 countries. Attended 9 heads of State, and Secretaries of the European Community Governments, 80 Ministers, Deputy Ministers and Secretaries of State and more than 100 members of the local authorities, including mayors and parliamentarians. With the theme "Water for our Future", it promoted more than 400 thematic sessions involving representatives of private companies, non-governmental organizations, academia, Governments, international institutions and local society.