Turkey having hosting the 5th World Water Forum in 2009 have been preparing now for the Istanbul International Water Forum to be held on May 3-5, 2011. Hamza Özgüler, the Regional Process Coordinator for “Turkey and its Region” in the General Directorate of State Hydraulic Works (DSI) that carried out a successful organization in 2009, told that the meeting in Istanbul is one of the most significant formations on the domain of water in Turkey and the region. Currently working as the branch chief of the International Hydraulic Activities Department of Investigation and Planning in the DSI, Özgüler said that it has been envisaged that the Istanbul Forum focuses on the regional water priorities and organized in a form of international organization like Stockholm World Water Week and the Singapore Water Days in connection with the regional component of the World Water Forums.
ORSAM: Could you please tell us briefly about yourself?
Hamza ÖZGÜLER: I will try to answer your questions as a member of the Steering Committee of the Istanbul International Water Forum, besides as being the responsible person of the Thematic and Regional Process of the Fifth World Water Forum.
After graduating in 1984 from Istanbul Technical University Department of Meteorological Engineering, I started my professional career in the DSI. During the period of 1988-1989, I received the diploma from IHE-Delft Hydrologic Training Program. In 2001, I gained my master degree in Hacettepe University Ecological Sciences. Presently, I have been working as the Branch Chief in the International Hydrologic Activities which was founded within the DSI Department of Surveying and Planning. As a requirement of my work, I’m always in close contacts with the UN institutions and international organizations related to water. I participated in the preparation process of the Fifth World Water Forum as the coordinator of the thematic communication point and of the region.
Could you please talk about your Branch Office that plays a role in the preparation process of both the World Water Forum and Istanbul International Water Forum?
Carrying out various works in relation with the observation, development and administration of the underground and overground resources of our country, the General Directorate of DSI has undertaken a very important role at the organization and representation of the international hydrologic activities in relation with the water resources. In this framework, the Section of International Hydrologic Activities, in 2003 as a unit and in 2007 as a section within the DSI General Directorate Department of Investigation and Planning, was included into the organization chart of the DSI. The said unit is in close contacts with the international water institutions.
Could you please tell us briefly the designation process of Turkey as the host country of the 5th World Water Forum and the efforts made on the purpose of that objective?
The designation of our country as the host of the Fifth World Water Forum is a project that is constituted of the extended, successive and complementary stages. The DSI became a member of the World Water Counsel in 2000. The Turkish group under the leadership of the DSI has undertaken effective positions in the World Water Counsel. The DSI General Directorial Authorities gave maximum importance to the issue and provided in this connection the necessary coordination among the national related institutions. The candidacy of our country to the Forum came up first in 2003; however the election at that time did not end up in favor of Turkey. In spite of that, the DSI have not interrupted its contacts with the World Water Council. The process of candidacy and preparation was followed very efficiently by the related institutions under the leadership of Prof. Dr. Veysel Eroğlu, the General Director of that time and current minister. As a result of this, our candidacy in 2006 received a great support from the Board of Governors of the World Water Counsel.
What kind of a contribution made the Istanbul 5th World Water Forum at the issue of informing the other countries about the water policy of Turkey, did it have any effect on the relations of Turkey with its riparian neighbours in relation with the transboundary waters?
As it is known, the policies of transboundary waters of Turkey have been evaluated and developed recently in the framework of the general foreign policy principles of Turkey. In this framework, close contacts and cooperation activities have been developed with the neighbour countries and various projects have been put into practice. The Fifth World Water Forum has actually a quality of being an occasion in order to consolidate this dialogue and cooperation ground leaded by our country
Could you please evaluate the Istanbul 5th World Water Forum by comparing it with the other Water Forums?
The main theme of the Fifth World Water Forum was to be a “bridge” between the challenges and the solutions. In this very successful activity, we witnessed during the Forum week that the water itself is a bridge. We, as Turkey, could introduce to the World water public-opinion with the unifying aspect of the water. As the historical Gold Horn Bridge combines the two sides of the estuaries, Sütlüce and Feshane, the Fifth World Water Forum has combined the continents, people, thoughts, experiences; it has gathered together all the people in the World who has an idea about the water; it has united the problems and the solutions for the water, for the protection of the water. Briefly stated, the fact that the water is our common language and the future of the World has been reconfirmed in the Fifth World Water Forum Week. The water problem all over the World has been placed near the top in the political agenda. The Water Forum, with the participation of the Heads of State and Government, gave the necessary messages to the World on the highest level.
Could you tell us about the preparations for the 6th World Water Forum which is going to take place in Marseille, France?
The Sixth World Water Forum is going to be held on March 12-17, 2012 in the city of Marseille of France. The main statement of the 6th Forum has been determined as “Time for Solutions”. The activities to be done during the 6th World Water Forum are going to be combined under the 4 titles of main processes such as the Political Process, Thematic Process, Regional Process, and Local Administrations-Citizens Process. The presidency of the Thematic Process Commission is being held by Prof. Dr. Doğan Altınbilek.
How did the idea of the May 3-5, 2011 Istanbul International Water Forum emerge, what is its aim and will it be repeated?
The Istanbul International Water Forum has been constituted de facto in the preparation process of the 5th World Water Forum, and its first meeting was done on February, 2009. The idea of the Istanbul International Water Forum with the aim of making the knowledge obtained in the Fifth World Water Forum durable in a more comprehensive and institutional framework by raising it to a further level has been developed by the DSI General Directorate and put into practice under the guidance of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry. The Istanbul International Water Forum which is held one year before the World Water Forums and every other three years is seen as one of the most significant formations of our country and region on the domain of water. It has been envisaged that the Istanbul Forum focuses on the regional water priorities and is organized in a form of international organization like Stockholm World Water Week and the Singapore Water Days in connection with the regional component of the World Water Forums. In this framework, the 2nd Istanbul International World Forum is going to be held in the Golden Horn Congress Centre in İstanbul on May 3-5, 2011 by the DSI General Directorate.
We would like to thank you for taking your time to answer these questions.