"In a context where it is necessary to cope with global changes related to the quick growth of world population, to migrations, increasing urbanization, climate change, etc. .... It has become essential both to fight against natural disasters, to reliably meet the drinking water needs of urban and rural populations, improve hygiene and health and prevent epidemics, to ensure food sufficiency, develop industry, energy production, waterways transport, tourism and recreational activities, to prevent and control pollution of all kinds, to preserve aquatic ecosystems, support fish production, and more generally to preserve the biodiversity of aquatic environments.
All these challenges cannot anymore be tackled on a sectoral or local basis, or separately from each other. The search for solutions must instead involve all stakeholders in an integrated and common approach jointly organized at the level of the river basin units: The experience gained for more than 40 years in more than 70 countries which have already adopted basin management or which are experimenting it on their own territory or through agreements with neighboring countries in shared basins, shows the effectiveness of this approach and all its benefits: the basins of rivers, lakes and aquifers, whether local, national or transboundary, are territories well suited for organizing joint management of water resources, aquatic ecosystems and all water-related activities.
The establishment and strengthening of river basin organizations, in the most appropriate forms, facilitate dialogue, cooperation, information exchange and implementation of joint projects and actions, allowing sharing the benefits, anticipating the future and preventing potential conflicts between the concerned stakeholders.
The European Water Framework Directive, the 1992 Water Convention in Europe, the SADC Protocol, the ISARM program of UNESCO on transboundary aquifers are examples showing that, when there is a common will, basin management allows rapid and significant progress in the management of water resources and aquatic ecosystems.
The "World Pact for better basin management", launched at the World Water Forum in Marseilles, and which incorporates the principles that have been proven all over the world, has already been signed by more than one hundred basin organizations worldwide.
Special attention should be paid to the major challenges of the management of 276 rivers and lakes and nearly 300 aquifers in the world, which must be managed with dialogue among all riparian countries concerned to avoid the conflicts that will inevitably occur because of global changes and to better promote the advantages of joint management and share all the benefits."