A global water forum kicked off for a six-day run in this southeastern city on Sunday to explore ways to cope with water shortages and other related problems, organizers said.
The World Water Forum, the seventh of its kind, brings together about 1,800 political leaders, businesspeople and activists from around the world under the theme of "Water for Our Future," according to the organizers.
The triennial event, held since 1997, provides a platform of discourse for world leaders, experts, business officials and activist group members in going over political and technological aspects of global concerns related to water shortage issues.
The water forum, organized by the World Water Council, is under way in Daegu and Gyeongju, 302 and 371 kilometers southeast of Seoul, respectively.
Speaking during an opening ceremony, South Korean President Park Geun-hye said that the forum will help promote global peace by providing solutions to water-related conflicts.
"I believe that inter-Korean tension can be eased by linking water routes connecting South and North Korea," Park said in her welcoming speech.
"(We) plan to create a (dialogue) channel through which the two Koreas can meet together by starting with the co-management of rivers passing through the two Koreas."
Park also said that water shortage has become a global problem, necessitating efforts by both advanced and emerging countries to cope with the issue.
"We have to move forward to an era of peace and cooperation by settling water-connected conflicts in the global arena," Park added. "Both advanced and developing countries should make water-related challenges an opportunity for economic growth."
The United Nations warns on its website that by 2025, 1.8 billion people will be living in countries or regions with absolute water scarcity, and two-thirds of the world's population could be living under water-stressed conditions.
Park pledged to increase support for resolving the water shortage problem by boosting cooperation with international organizations such as the Green Climate Fund and the Global Green Growth Institute.
She also proposed setting up the so-called "K-Water Program" that calls for Seoul to provide its water-management know-how to developing nations.
Forum participants are expected to discuss a variety of issues, including climate change, disaster relief and energy. High-ranking government officials also will have roundtable discussions to hammer out government-level solutions to water shortages.
Other programs, such as the Water Showcase, in which a contest is held to find creative ways to solve water-related issues, as well as a Citizen's Forum with members from 150 institutions from 34 countries, will be held on the sidelines of the WWF, organizers said. (Yonhap)