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World Water Week at Home

August 26, 2020
World Water Week at Home 2020 explores water management, climate change and development. Image: World Water Week

Water and development experts from around the world are coming together online this week to discuss the key issues and big ideas in global water management. Now in its 29th year, World Water Week is taking place ‘At Home’ this year between 24–28 August, with 120 online sessions open for free to the public. Sessions are both available live and archived on YouTube.

At the opening event on Monday, Stockholm International Water Institute Executive Director Torgny Holmgren emphasised the importance of water-related climate change mitigation across many of the sessions. “At the climate conference COP25 in Madrid last year we started to see a welcome breakthrough where more countries began to search for water solutions, not least in their nationally determined contributions to the Paris agreement. Now we hope that this thinking will gain more traction ahead of COP26 next year,” Holmgren said.

Another major trend across the sessions is how national governments can promote environmental resilience in their economic and social rebuilding after the Covid-19 pandemic. “Water is a necessity of life and an engine for development. Through its response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the world has proved that it has the capacity to change rapidly,” said Isabella Lövin, the Swedish Minister for Environment and Climate. “We should use this momentum to transform our way of living into what is in line with reaching the sustainable development goals. Sustainable water management is an integral part of that,” she argued.

This week’s sessions involve a range of organisers and speakers from global NGOs, academia, business and government. “We are very happy that to be able to offer such a diversity, with distinguished speakers helping us understand important new trends,” said Gabriela Suhoschi, Director of World Water Week. “In today’s turbulent world there is great need for this type of reflection and analysis, so I hope that many people will seize the opportunity to tap into this knowledge,” she added.

There are a number of sessions which are likely to be of particular interest to our readers. Tomorrow (Thursday 27th August) practitioners will present results and lessons from a 7-year project on the conservation and restoration of floodplain areas across the Danube river basin, involving The Coca-Cola Company and Foundation, the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River and WWF-CEE. Later in the day, another session will showcase new technological approaches to detect and monitor Harmful Algal Blooms, whilst a third will explore the links between Nature-based solutions for water security and climate finance.

On Friday, a series of sessions affiliated with the Every Drop Counts initiative explore themes around water management and gender, including strengthening the role of female voices in decision making. Later on, the Alliance for Water Stewardship will run a session on the challenges of implementing water stewardship in agriculture, before the week is concluded in a closing ceremony.

A number of the sessions which have already taken place have been uploaded to the World Water Week At Home YouTube channel, with more forthcoming. We particularly enjoyed this session hosted by the Rede Brasil do Pacto Global on the potential of Nature-based solutions to address water scarcity caused by ongoing climate change.

You can follow the remainder of the event online through the project website and social media, using the #WWWeek hashtag.

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