WWWeek: Serious global water talks at Stockholm online
Again a digital edition of World Water Week is about to start. With 400 sessions, daily starting at 7.00 and ending at 23.00 central European time. Everyone can join the expert conversations on the most pressing global water issues.
World Water Week kicks off on Monday 23 August and closes Friday 28 August. This year’s central theme is Building Resilience Faster.
The resiliency that is on the agenda, relates to effects of climate change and the disproportionate pressure on the already vulnerable people and communities. Suffering from the Covid-19 pandemic, their poverty has increased and natural disasters - fuelled by global warming - hit them the hardest.
Previous editions of the World Water Week in Stockholm learned that water can be a stress multiplier. So tackling floods and droughts is at the same time an important enabler of resiliency. During this year’s edition, many delegates will again stress the importance to build trust, spur innovation, mobilize resources and, above all, value water.
In that sense, nature-based solutions are a promising option as they can address water and sanitation issues, but also to restore nature, to reduce carbon emissions, to create jobs and to improve the well-being of, especially, vulnerable women and children.
How to get beyond pilots?
Every situation is different, so every community shall have to find its own way to become more resilient to multiple crises. Local pilots with integrated water management are very imported, as well as sharing best-practises at events such as Stockholm online.
More recent editions focused on the need to bring these solutions to scale and how to facilitate national and regional implementations. Above all, systems are required that can provide reliable and sustainable water services. Ideas are needed on how to organise such systems and how to finance them.
For the third year in a row, the Dutch government is an official partner of the event and the contribution of Dutch organisations to the event has grown rapidly. This year Dutch organisations are involved in 100 of the 400 sessions.
‘A remarkable number’, says Karin Roelofs, head of the water division at the Dutch ministry of Foreign Affairs. The partnership is clearly showing results and Roelofs is happy to see that Dutch organisations want to share their experiences and engage with the global water community.
‘Before the Covid-19 pandemic, we knew that Sustainable Development Goal 6 on water was not on track to achieve the goal by 2030', Roelofs continues. 'The pandemic has made it more difficult to achieve the goal as poverty and inequality have further increased. Acceleration of action is needed more than ever. Not only for the water goal but for the achievement of other SDGs as well, such as health, food security, energy and urban development. Water is a deal maker, but it can also be a deal breaker’, she warns.
Everyone at the table
According to Roelofs it is important to involve as many stakeholders as possible. 'Stockholm is an important platform to forge new partnerships that can help bridge the gap between water and the health sector or food production.'
'The impacts of climate change will be huge’, she foresees, ‘and therefore intersectoral partnerships are crucial to cope with the effects of climate change and improve our resilience. And let us not forget the role of women and youth. Everyone needs a seat at the table and should participate in the decision making process on water issues’.
The Dutch government has organised several sessions including one on the UN Water conference in 2023. The Netherlands and Tajikistan will co-chair the conference and has a focus beyond the mid-term review of SDG6. ‘We want this 2023-conference to be more than just a stock taking event. Hopefully it will give a boost to more action’, Roelofs adds and invites all participants of the Stockholm World Water Week to join the session and contribute with ideas and suggestions.
Herself, Roelofs will deliver a key note on Thursday on result-based financing. The session will include the lessons learned on bending finance, involving both private and public financing of water projects. ‘I will emphasise the need to regard not only the economic value of water but also the social, cultural and environmental values. The inclusion of these other values are important for a better allocation of water resources and eventually on a more efficient use of water’, Roelofs concludes.
Next to the Dutch government itself, many Dutch organisations - NGOs, Government, Knowledge Institutes and Companies - are contributing to the programme and will be present in the virtual Netherlands Pavilion.
Participation is possible by registration. With a free ticket it is possible to join all sessions through the virtual Pathable platform. Joining the networking requires a fee.
See the full SWWW-programme and the registration options on www.worldwaterweek.org.
More information on Dutch involvement in the Stockholm World Water Week 2021 can be found on this website.
Also, stay tuned for more news items on this website during the whole week.