Initiatives Highlight Innovations of Past and Present to Tackle Water-related Challenges

January 2018: While the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is working to create a network of museums to understand the evolution and raise awareness of water use and conservation, an ‘International Water Summit’ (IWS) and preparations towards World Water Week have emphasized the future, in particular, technologies and linkages for meeting water-related challenges and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).SDG-goals_Goal-06 Clean Water & Sanitation

UNESCO is supporting the formation of a network of museums around the world that are concerned with water and ecosystems in civilizations past and present, to raise awareness of water and conservation practices. Thus far, 29 museums have come together to create a global network that promotes greater understanding of “water civilizations.” According to a Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) press release, “the leaders of these institutions share a vision of the need to develop a new paradigm of water management in the face of climate change and in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals.”

The leaders of these institutions share a vision of the need to develop a new paradigm of water management.

An article in ‘WaterFront’ magazine, published by SIWI, describes museum activities and exhibits involved in the network. Examples include: the UK Canal and River Trust, which has documented life on Britain’s canals in past 200 years; China’s National Water Museum in Hangzhou, at the end of its Grand Canal Waterway; the Yazd Water Museum in Iran, which demonstrates a traditional method for harvesting water from the atmosphere; and the Musée de l’Eau de Ouagadogou in Burkina Faso, which teaches hygiene and sanitation practices. Following a May 2017, three-day workshop titled, ‘Towards a Global Network of Water Museums,’ UNESCO anticipates that the network will become a formal project by June 2018.

SDG-goals_Goal-09 Idustry, Innovation & InfrastructureLooking to the future of solving water-related challenges, the Abu Dhabi Water and Energy Authority (ADWEA) held its annual International Water Summit with a view to “promoting water sustainability in arid regions.” The 2018 Summit brought together over 200 technology providers, innovators and suppliers to highlight solutions to water-related issues in the Middle East. The event included an exhibition, a high-level conference, and a platform for “matchmaking” businesses with market opportunities in the provision of water supply services. The Summit sought to advance learning on innovative technologies in water industry infrastructure, and addressed topics such as: desalinization; wastewater; big data; and monitoring. The 2019 IWS will convene from 14-19 January 2019.SDG-goals_Goal-15 Life On Land

Finally, the SIWI World Water Week, to be held in August 2018, will lend focus to achieving the SDGs, and will convene under the theme, ‘Water, ecosystems and human development.’ According to SIWI, discussions will focus on SDG targets for water-related ecosystems (SDG 6.6), sustainable infrastructure (9.1), and conservation of terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems (SDG 15.1). Sessions will emphasize the interdependence among these SDG targets, and will give particular attention to biodiversity, given that the Week will be held before the 14th session of the Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP 14).

For instance, one of the many seminars to take place during World Water Week will discuss trade-offs between achieving food security, reducing energy poverty and maintaining biodiversity and freshwater-related ecosystems, while highlighting the need for improving land use governance. The seminar, titled ‘Investing in freshwater ecosystems and biodiversity: A key development challenge,’ will be convened by SIWI, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the Government of Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development-BMZ, and the Albertine Rift Conservation Society (ARCOS Network). [SIWI Web Page on Seminars] [SIWI Seminar List for World Water Week] [SIWI Waterfront Magazine Article] [SIWI Publications] [International Water Summit]

References: International Institute for Sustainable Development. (2018). Retrieved from


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