Milwaukee recognized as global hub for fresh water science, technology

Milwaukee joined an elite list of only 13 cities worldwide this week when it gained admission into the United Nations Global Compact Cities Programme (UNGCCP). With this admission, the United Nations recognized the area's expertise and global leadership in fresh water technology and science.

MILWAUKEE, April 30, 2009 -- Milwaukee joined an elite list of only 13 cities worldwide this week when it gained admission into the United Nations Global Compact Cities Programme (UNGCCP). With this admission, the United Nations recognized the area's expertise and global leadership in fresh water technology and science. Milwaukee and San Francisco are the only two North American cities in the UNGCCP.

Cities accepted into the program submitted proposals to address complex challenges common to most urban areas such as housing, health care and sanitation. Milwaukee's proposal focused on managing limited fresh water resources through water technology and science. It is a plan that prioritizes, implements and monitors the activities of a number of integrated sub-projects that make a difference in water quality for the Milwaukee and the surrounding region.

"Every city around the world is facing its own intractable problems, which are becoming increasingly difficult to manage, let alone improve," said Dr. Paul James, Director of the UNGCCP. "These are the issues that have been failed by previous governance efforts year after year - slums, transport, pollution, sanitation. The UNGCCP provides a unique framework for helping cities build constructive taskforces across the key sectors of business, government and community to produce practical, local and sustainable solutions to these challenges."

Admission into the UNGCCP is the latest evidence of Milwaukee's emergence as a global hub for fresh water technology expertise and industry. The area is home to 120 businesses that serve some aspect of the water technology industry. Five of the world's largest water technology companies have headquarters or other major operations in the area.

In 2007, area business, academic and civic leaders formed the Milwaukee 7 Water Council, whose mission is to develop the Milwaukee Region as the world water technology hub for fresh water research, economic development and education. Richard Meeusen, Chairman, President and CEO of Badger Meter, and Paul Jones, Chairman and CEO of A.O. Smith Corporation, serve as co-chairs for the Water Council.

"This designation from the UN shows how significant Milwaukee's role is, and will be, in addressing the world's water technology and policy needs of the present and future," said Meeusen.

Jones added, "We're very proud of the Water Council's work to get us to this point. As a member of the UN Global Compact Cities Programme, Milwaukee will be a very active participant helping to develop new technologies and solve water issues."

In March, the Milwaukee area further increased its stature as a global fresh water hub with Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle's commitment of $240 million to fund education at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, including support for the School of Fresh water Sciences -- the first of its kind in the Western Hemisphere.

"To be recognized by the United Nations as the fresh water hub in the world is an honor and speaks volumes about Milwaukee's strengths in fresh water technology," said Mayor Tom Barrett. "We are proud to be the second U.S. city to join the U.N. Global Compact Cities Program and believe that we are leaps and bounds ahead of the competition in growing our fresh water economy."

Milwaukee's UNGCCP project will be under the leadership of the Milwaukee 7 Water Council, which will adopt the goals of the new School of Fresh water Sciences. Its focus will be maintaining and improving water quality system dynamics, health and sustainability as well as fresh water technology, policy, and management.

Dr. James expressed his appreciation of Milwaukee's progress in moving the project forward. "The project now has clear top-level vision with established priorities; the sub-projects are consistent with the overall goals, and the partnerships and commitment that Milwaukee has managed to bring together are exemplary," he said.

About the Milwaukee 7 Water Council

Milwaukee 7's Water Council mission is to align the regional fresh water research community and water-related industries to turn the Milwaukee region into the world water hub for fresh water research, economic development and education. Additional information about the Milwaukee 7 Water Council is available at www.milwaukee7-watercouncil.com.

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