Water is an important resource, which we cannot live without and yet it
is also one which is taken for granted, wasted and polluted freely, even
though some parts of the world, usually the poorest regions, have very
limited access to clean water. To try to highlight the importance of
water as a resource and bring water-related issues to the forefront,
World Water Week takes place annually in Stockholm, Sweden. World Water Week 2013 opened
yesterday in Stockholm and the main theme for this year is Water
Cooperation: Building Partnerships, as this is also the UN Year of Water
The event proceedings are being published daily in the
Stockholm Water Front – a forum for water issues.
The Stockholm Water Front reported in its Monday issue that one of the
opening sessions of World Water Week 2013 focused on the core theme for
this event, i.e. the importance of building partnerships and aligning
agendas. “Although we are organised in sectors and so are the ministries
of the countries we are working in, people don’t say ‘These are my
environmental needs’ or ‘These are my health needs’, they just say these
are my needs,” said Colleen Vollberg, Senior Manager for Freshwater and
Biodiversity Policy at Conservation International in Washington DC. “We
need to change the way the entire water sector works by integrating
efforts to work together for sustainability.”
Conservation International reported that as a result of research projects in sub-Saharan Africa to integrate the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Promotion (WASH)
programmes and biodiversity conservation a new suite of guidelines are
being developed by Conservation International with its partners in the
Africa Biodiversity Collaborative Group, to encourage multilevel
stakeholder engagement for long-term sustainable development.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
(UNESCO) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
(OECD) also unveiled new tools to help countries face up to the
challenges of climate change adaptation and the threats to water
security that climate change brings. Speaking yesterday at the afternoon
seminar ‘New Knowledge, New Practice for Resilient Water Security,’
speakers stressed the importance of building an interface between
science and policy-making to combat the risks of climate change.
Water is the main channel through which the impact of climate change
will be felt and Kathleen Dominique, Environmental Economist with the
OECD, has produced a new report to provide guidance to policy-makers to
help improve the prioritisation and efficiency of their responses.
“There is a window of opportunity as water is a priority for adaptation
and many country strategies are being formulated now so a lot can be
done for water,” said Dominique.
Other important topics to be discussed during the week include water
governance, transboundary river cooperation, drought and water scarcity,
and agriculture and water conservation. This last topic is of great
importance, considering agriculture globally consumes 70% of the world’s
water and also contribute greatly to its contamination. The CABI internet resource 'Environmental Impact' has a wealth of records on water issues, including pollution.
Link to the World Water Week 2013 programme.
Photo by Vera Barbosa, taken at Rio das Ostras, RJ, Brazil.