World Water Week 2017 has already started
August 28, 2017, Stockholm, Sweden: from August 27 to September 1, the representatives of the Central Asian countries and Afghanistan are taking part in the World Water Week.
The World Water Week in Stockholm is a global platform for coordination and discussion of world’s water issues, which is organized by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI).
During the week-long event, experts, practitioners, decision-makers, business innovators and young professionals from a range of sectors and countries will exchange ideas, foster new thinking and develop solutions to the most pressing water-related challenges of today. This year's event is devoted to the topic "Water and Waste: Reduce and reuse”.
"We have traveled from all corners of the world – nearly 130 countries, to discuss the opportunities and challenges presented by this year’s theme - “Water and waste: Reduce and reuse”. We believe it is important to take a holistic view of waste - both in our actions, and our values - how we think about waste, how much we waste, and more importantly, the opportunity we have to change the systems and psychology around waste and water," Dr Therese Magnusson, Director of Transboundary Water Management at SIWI, welcomed participants. "During the Week, we will learn about successes and challenges from across the world - from a wide range of water-dependent sectors such as food, sanitation, energy, agriculture, and production. We will travel from source to sea; between rural and urban contexts."
According to WHO, almost 1 billion people are deprived of access to improved water supply. And by 2025, half of the world’s population will be living in water-stressed areas. At the same time, approximately 276 river basins cross international borders, which once again emphasizes the importance of international principles of water diplomacy in addressing water management issues. And this is also relevant in our region.
The position of the region in this process will allow to reflect the interests of Central Asia in the development of new goals and give impetus to cooperation, what means to find "common ground" both within the region and beyond.
In 2016, The Regional Environmental Center for Central Asia (CAREC) for the first time organized the participation of Central Asian delegates. Representatives of other countries, including international experts, got acquainted with the progress in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in the countries of the region within the framework of the exhibition stand from the region. It is planned to consolidate the representation of the region this year.
"For the second year, we have been supporting the participation of representatives of Central Asian countries in the World Water Week. This year, Afghanistan also joined us," commented Ms. Anna Inozemtceva, Water Initiatives Support Program leading specialist at CAREC, "In my opinion, the participation of the whole delegation of the region at such a large international event is a very good sign for several points. First of all, it is the representativeness of the region - as a whole unit, with common questions and issues. Last year, the participation of such a huge delegation caused a lot of interest both from the part of organizers and international partners. Joint participation gives a sense that our countries are ready for joint actions, ready for dialogue and for a new experience that will help us solve our problems, which are primarily of a transboundary nature. Secondly, it is the establishment of close contacts between specialists from different countries. Yes, they have the opportunity to contact within their region, however, experience shows that an informal communication – after the official program at the backstage and evening conversations and discussions gives much better results in the future cooperation".
Participation of delegates was supported by SIWI, the European Union, The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Ministry of the Environment of the Kingdom of Norway.
In addition to the scheduled meetings, three video conversations with the representatives of Central Asia will be recorded on the SIWI Sofa site during the World Water Week on approaches of solving water management related issues, including lessons and success stories, as well as the relevance of regional cooperation.
In the first conversation, participants will discuss ways to water diplomacy. Today, the most of the practice accumulated in the framework of numerous development programs is not reflected in the legislation of countries, and this gap between experience,science, and politics significantly complicates the process of change. However, there is also a positive experience in the region, which shows that the implementation of the principles of international water law can be mutually beneficial for countries.
The second conversation will cover the issues of involving local communities in water resources management in order to understand the effective ways of representing their interests in planning, allocating water and making appropriate decisions.
A third discussion will focus on the involvement of the academic community of the region in global sustainable development processes. Both regional and national initiatives to narrow the gap between science and practice in the region of Central Asia and Afghanistan will be presented here.