Civil society at the 9th World Water Forum in Dakar

The World Water Forum ended on March 25, 2022. On the occasion of this major event of the water sector, the coalition of NGOs and CSOs for water – the Butterfly Effect – were mobilized through its members to support the involvement and active participation of civil society both in the preparatory process and at the World Water Forum.

Here are some of the highlights of this mobilization

Mobilization of the Butterfly Effect within the WWF

Making the voice of civil society heard at the World Water Forum in Dakar

Since March 2021, the Butterfly Effect coalition has coordinated an advocacy process resulting in a policy position paper. This civil society call is directly addressed to states and includes 5 major demands for positive and ambitious changes in the water sector:

  1. Stronger political will
  2. Strengthened water governance
  3. Actively involved citizens and civil society
  4. Strong and transparent financial commitments
  5. A renewed multilateral framework

Read the full position paper

The process was conducted from the local to the global level and involved more than 200 water civil society participants from 5 continents.

Our messages were developed through a consultation of network members and 6 online workshops coordinated by regional water civil society networks, the detailed results of which are compiled in a synthesis.

These messages were presented during the Forum and delivered to several strategic actors including AMCOW, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Senegalese Ministry of Hydraulics, the UN Special Rapporteur for the Human Rights to Water and Sanitation, etc.

The messages were also presented during a pitch on the Espace France stand as well as in a high-level panel on “Partnerships for SDG 6”, led by the Government of Spain.

Key facts and figures

  • 7 online workshops
  • 5 continents
  • 200+ participants mobilized
  • 5 political messages

They are talking about us!

Mobilizing and making visible the international civil society during the World Water Forum

During the WWF, the members of the Butterfly Effect were involved in many debate and working platforms, thus strengthening the involvement and visibility of civil society at all levels.

The coalition was present as a panelist in several regular sessions (2A1, 4B4, 2A3…) as well as in high level panels and side events organized on different country stands.

Similarly, the Butterfly Effect facilitated the organization of several events aimed at strengthening citizen advocacy in preparation for the UN Water Conference in 2023.

Two workshops organized in the Youth Space of the Forum have strengthened the links between civil society and youth organizations – an integral part of civil society – in order to identify common synergies in their advocacy and to exchange on joint modes of action.


This World Water Forum provided a valuable framework for a significant mobilization of the network and its members and laid the groundwork for advocacy work that will continue in the coming months, particularly in view of the United Nations Water Conference in 2023.

The Butterfly Effect has been strengthened by increased cooperation between the organizations of its steering committee and the involvement of new members and avenues of action have been explored to strengthen the joint work of influence with other civil society actors in the water sector, especially youth, but also other sectors (private, academic, etc.).

The strong mobilization of the network members during the Forum provided a remarkable platform for the dissemination of our messages and the visibility of the Butterfly Effect was strengthened at the international level.

However, although the World Water Forum is still the largest gathering of the various stakeholders in the water sector, it lacks a strong political component, whereas the global water crisis can only be solved through actions and decisions shared at all levels.

In March 2023, the first water conference organized within the UN in nearly 30 years will be held. The international civil society of the water sector must be present in order to demand strong commitments from the States and the international community to face the global water crisis.

The Butterfly Effect will therefore continue its mobilization through its members and will continue to develop its messages in line with the preparatory process of the UN conference.

Network publications


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