A Summary of World Water Week 2016

World Water Week, held in Stockholm between 28 August and 2 September with over 3100 participants from 120 countries, was a success. This year, the motto of World Water Week was Water for Sustainable Growth, so the lectures and workshops primarily focussed on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), including No. 6, the one about water.

Source: https://siwi-mediahub.creo.se, Photographer: Nayereh Rajabi

The one-week event hosted by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) was attended by high-level decision-makers, development and water management specialists, researchers, NGOs and private individuals. Professional work was focussed on implementation and active action, primarily solutions and action plans at the local and city level.

“Water is too important to keep inside the water community. It is also important that civil society, businesses and social entrepreneurs are engaged, to learn from each other to create smart, viable and sustainable partnerships.” said SIWI’s Executive Director Torgny Holmgren.

Karolina Skog, Sweden’s Environment Minister emphasised: “Water is a shared resource and a shared responsibility. The private sector has an important part to play. It has the competence, the technology and the ability to invest. Responsible water usage is an economical advantage and will pay off both for sustainable business models and for new innovations.”

World Water Week also included a meeting of the members of the High Level Panel on Water established by the UN Secretary General and the President of the World Bank. The Panel gathered in-depth, detailed information about the water sector, to use for developing sustainability action plans.

Source: https://siwi-mediahub.creo.se, Photographer: Nayereh Rajabi

In her closing speech, Karolina Skog, Sweden’s Environment Minister also emphasised that climate is the greatest challenge of our generation, so it is a great need to identify risks and vulnerabilities. Preventive measures are much more cost-efficient than reactive ones. Intelligent water solutions have shown that climate investment repays itself in several areas.

The link between water and famines was also discussed at World Water Week. Africa’s climate can be considered the Earth’s Achilles’ heel in terms of water, so rainwater harvesting and use and the development and introduction of other green water technologies are indispensable for reducing famine in Africa and for meeting the SDGs. Together with other water and climate experts, professor Malin Falkenmark called for a Green Water Initiative.

Two major prizes were also awarded during World Water Week. The Stockholm Junior Water Prize went to a team of students from Thailand, who created a new device, with applications in agriculture, modelled on the moisture collecting and retention capacity of bromeliad plants. This year’s winner of the Stockholm Water Prize was Professor Joan B. Rose, who received the award for her continuous contributions to global public health.

Source: press release.