The World Environment Forum being held in this Brazilian city through Saturday is focusing its attention on water this year.

During the inauguration of the two-day event, whose theme is "2013: International Year of Water Cooperation," Brazil's Environment Minister Izabella Teixeira noted the importance of preserving water resources.

Teixeira said that water should be considered a basic part of sustainable development and asked a commitment of everyone present to protect not only water resources but also forests and biodiversity.

Also at the event was Robert Kennedy Jr., nephew of the late U.S. President John F. Kennedy, a specialist in environmental law and president of the non-governmental organization Waterkeep Alliance, who said the greatest threat to water resources is privatization.

Water should be a right of every human being but there are people who can't pay for it, he said. Kennedy recalled the case of Cochabamba in Bolivia, where a series of protests broke out over the privatization of municipal drinking water that led the government to cancel its contract with the companies involved.

According to Kennedy, what is important is to have strong, rational laws, taking care that the price of water, for example, does not hurt the poorest people.

Foz do Iguaçu is home to the famous Iguazu Falls. EFE