The World Water Council, an international organization based in Marseilles (France) is currently seeking expressions of interest from National Governments willing to host and organize the World Water Forum, the world’s largest water event, in March 2024. Preliminary expressions of interest should be received by the World Water Council Secretariat by 23 November 2018.

The Council aims to promote awareness of critical water issues at all levels, building political commitment and triggering action. It focuses in particular on the efficient and sustainable conservation and management of freshwater resources and the delivery of water services for the benefit of all life on earth. To this end, the Council organizes, every three years, in close collaboration with a host country and a host city, a World Water Forum. The Forum is the largest international awareness-raising event focused on water and development. It provides a platform where multi-stakeholder dialogues take place on critical water issues.

The essential objectives of the World Water Forum are to:

• Increase the visibility of water in the wider global political agenda;

• Foster debate by providing a platform for all stakeholders to engage, exchange, learn together, and catalyze concrete ideas for improved water resources management and development;

• Challenge conventional thinking by ensuring a diversity of perspectives and ideas on contemporary and critical water resource management issues; and

• Mobilize action by policy and decision-makers on commitments for improved water resources management and development.

Its Preparation

The World Water Forum involves different stages in its organization. These include a three-year preparation phase (preparatory phase), a one-week event (event phase), and presentation of the results (synthesis phase). It involves a great deal of preparatory work on specific subjects, taking into account the perspectives of multiple stakeholders from different regions. The quality of the Forum event depends on the quality and the inclusiveness of its preparatory process, which applies to both its thematic and political components. Communications, grassroots and citizenship activities and regional approaches remain important considerations, as well. During the preparatory phase of the World Water Forum a range of other events including kick-off meetings, etc. are expected to be organized. Based on experience, these additional meetings will be smaller than 500 persons.

Target audience

In addition, the World Water Forum represents a significant opportunity to connect with the general public to increase awareness on water issues. In terms of audience participation the World Water Forum has been growing fast. The Marrakech Forum attracted a total audience of 500, growing to 20,000 in Kyoto, Shiga and Osaka, and Mexico City. The 8th (Brasilia, Brazil – 2018) was the largest Forum ever, with over 100,000 entries, primarily comprising attendance of the Citizen’s Village, which was open free of charge to the public at large.

The target audience for the World Water Forum includes: political leaders (local authorities/mayors, parliamentarians, ministers, heads of governments/state), policy and decision makers, business leaders, media representatives, representatives of water-related sectors, representatives of nonwater-related sectors for which water is an essential component, the world’s water professionals, water scientists and engineers, civil society representatives (users, beneficiaries, unions, professional associations, indigenous peoples, women, youth, etc.), and citizens of the host country


The event phase of the World Water Forum requires facilities, in a single city, that offer:

• a minimum of 8,000 hotel rooms in various categories

• a venue that can accommodate 10,000 participants

• a main auditorium for at least 3,000 people to host the opening and closing ceremonies

• meeting facilities to support at least 100 parallel sessions over five days

• a minimum of 12,000 square meters of (gross) exhibit space

• the capacity to welcome and host over 100 ministerial delegations, including adequate security

The Forum event is organized for a period between 5 and 8 days which usually includes the UN’s World Water Day (22 March).

The Council’s Board of Governors has determined that the bidding process for the World Water Forum will be open to the Government of any country that, together with the host city, can demonstrate its capacity to organize such an important event. In order to be considered for the next steps in the bidding procedure, a preliminary expression of interest should be received by the WWC Headquarters in Marseille by 23 November 2018. It must be presented or endorsed by a representative of the central Government of the country concerned, at the highest possible level. Candidatures endorsed by the highest possible level of Government (President or Prime Minister) will have an advantage over those brought forth by lesser authorities. The selection of the host country will also be the selection of a host city and their respective Governments.

Financial obligations

The cost of organizing a successful Forum is estimated to be in the region of 30M€ (excluding security measures), depending on the host country’s level of implication and interest. The Forum Budget mentioned above must be understood as the sum of the host country’s budget and the Council’s budget for the Forum. It is expected that approximately 40% of the costs will be carried by the host country, 30-40% will come from sponsors and the remaining 30% will come from participants (including Fair and Expo) and bulk registration. A minimum contribution of 4M€ is expected to be provided to the WWC by the host country. Fundraising strategies and sponsorship programs to support participation from developing countries must also be established.

Tentative Timeline

July 2018 Review and adjust Call materials

1 st week of September 2018 Call opened to all candidates for Expressions of Interest

23 November 2018 Deadline for Expressions of Interest

28-29 November 2018 Board determines short list of candidates

End of December 2018 Additional Guidelines provided to shortlisted candidates

Feb./March 2019 Candidates invited to an information session

31 May 2019 Deadline for receiving Final Candidatures

June – December 2019 Evaluation of bid documents including site visits as necessary

March 2020 Selection Committee presents its report to the Board of Governors, which then votes on the matter

Oct./November 2020 Signature of a Pro-Forma Contract (Framework Agreement) between the selected Candidate and the WWC

March 2021 Hand-over at the end of the 9 th World Water Forum

World Water Council / Conseil mondial de l’eau 2-4 place d’Arvieux Espace Gaymard 13002 Marseilles – France Tel: +33 (0)4 91 99 41 00 Fax: +33 (0)4 91 99 41 01 Website: