الرئيسية / English / World Water Week opens in Stockholm with a call for more nature-based solutions
unnamed

World Water Week opens in Stockholm with a call for more nature-based solutions

 Stockholm ‎

‎ Poor water management and stressed ecosystems cause poverty and violent conflicts. To avoid a ‎global water crisis, more nature-based solutions are urgently needed. These were key themes ‎during the inauguration of World Water Week 2018, which has brought world leaders, water ‎experts, development professionals and business representatives from all over the world together ‎in Stockholm, Sweden. ‎
There is a growing realization that humans are increasingly vulnerable to water shortages, extreme ‎weather and social unrest. Decades of unprecedented economic and population growth, rapid ‎urbanization and climate change have led to stressed ecosystems and high pressure on limited ‎water resources. In response to this, societies must find and implement solutions that work with, ‎rather than against, nature. ‎

World Water Week, the leading meeting-place for the global water community, is this year focused ‎on the link between water, ecosystems and human development. A record number of 3,700 ‎participants meet in Stockholm 26-31 August to discuss concrete solutions to the escalating water ‎challenges. ‎

‎“With the rapidly growing demand for water, it is becoming increasingly clear that water is ‎everybody’s issue. Scarcity of water has become the new normal in so many parts of the world,” ‎said Torgny Holmgren, Executive Director of SIWI, which organizes World Water Week.

In his welcome address on Monday, Mr. Holmgren called for a shift towards more green ‎infrastructure solutions, noting that they are inherently multi-functional: “City parks retain rain, ‎improve the microclimate, contribute to biodiversity – and look good doing so. Green solutions are, ‎in addition, also often much more resilient than grey. They tend to bend rather than break under ‎pressure. They can repair themselves and restore their functionality also after significant damage.” ‎

H.E. Amina J. Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, talked about the ‎strong link between environmental degradation, poverty and violent conflicts. This is not least ‎visible in her home country Nigeria, which in recent years has suffered from terrorism: “I believe ‎that the tragedy of Boko Haram is inextricably linked to poor water management and the solution ‎to the conflict in the region must include equitable ways of using water resources,” she said. ‎

As an example of the dramatic consequences of a collapsing ecosystem, Amina J Mohammed ‎referred to Lake Chad, which has shrunk by 90 per cent, saying that “it has impacted food insecurity ‎and is increasing the risk of water-borne diseases, but it is also causing poverty by taking away ‎farmers’ livelihoods, especially for women. And it has a gender dimension, contributing among ‎others to low levels of school-enrolment among our girls. Taken together, all these factors have ‎contributed increasingly to insecurity in our region, already affected by religious extremism.” ‎

unnamed

Similar views were expressed by Åsa Regnér, Assistant Secretary-General and Deputy Executive ‎Director, Director for the Intergovernmental Support and Strategic Partnerships Bureau, at UN ‎Women. She described lack of water as a root cause of poverty and inequality since “only in Sub-‎Saharan Africa, women and girls spend 40 billion hours a year collecting water, equivalent to a ‎year’s worth of labour by the entire workforce in France”. ‎

Carin Jämtin, Director-General of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, ‎also talked about the relationship between poverty, conflicts and lack of clean water. “In countries ‎affected by conflict and fragility, tensions over water increase. There is evidence that water and ‎sanitation infrastructure have been attacked, or that the access to clean water is denied as tactic or ‎weapon of war. Without access to clean water, children fall ill, hospitals do not function, and ‎disease and malnutrition spread quickly. Among the threats against children in conflict, the lack of ‎safe drinking water is one of the deadliest,” Carin Jämtin said. ‎

Karin Wanngård, Mayor of Stockholm, pointed to the risk from populism and short-sightedness but ‎also felt that cities were increasingly coming together to find new solutions, adding: “I hope that ‎this week will help the global community to get closer to the goal of a sustainable world.” ‎

Many of the speakers also expressed optimism about the increase in new solutions borrowed ‎from nature. An inspiring example is the work of Stockholm Water Prize winners Professors Bruce ‎Rittmann and Mark van Loosdrecht. Interviewed by SIWI’s Senior Manager International Policies, ‎Maggie White, on how their research on environmental biotechnology has revolutionized water ‎treatment Bruce Rittman said: ‎

‎“Microorganisms live in water and when we use microorganisms we are making water a key part of ‎the solution to many of our environmental challenges.” He added: “We want to have a merging of ‎environmental and economic interests. We don’t want to make pollution control and ‎environmental protection just a cost to society, we want to turn that also into a generator of ‎resources and economic value”. ‎

About SIWI: SIWI is an international water institute working to solve global water challenges by ‎improving how water is used and managed. By combining its areas of expertise with its unique ‎convening power, SIWI influences decision-makers, facilitates dialogue and builds knowledge in ‎water issues, thereby contributing to a just, prosperous and sustainable future for all. ‎

SIWI organizes the world’s most important annual water and development meeting, World Water ‎Week, and it awards the Stockholm Water Prize and Stockholm Junior Water Prize. ‎

About World Water Week: World Water Week is the leading annual event on global water and ‎development issues. The Week brings together more than 3,500 participants from more than 130 ‎countries representing governments, private sector, multilateral organizations, civil society and ‎academia to shape joint solutions to global water challenges.‎

شاهد أيضاً

workshop-of-Climate-Change-and-Renewable-Energy-Yemen-Mukalla

Yemen organizes first training to empower the scientific press

Omar AL-Hayani, a science journalist from Yemen and a board member of the Arab Science …