As world leaders, development professionals and water experts gathered August 28-September 2 for Stockholm International Water Institute’s (SIWI) World Water Week, water’s role for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals were discussed, as was water and the ongoing migration crisis and several other water challenges. The 2016 theme was water for sustainable growth. As a global collective, we will not be able to end hunger, ensure good health, build sustainable cities and fight climate change, if we do not have reliable access to the most fundamental resource of all. Water (and wise water management) is central to development, sustainable growth and to the overarching goal of lifting people from poverty.
A key objective of World Water Week was tracking water in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Each year, decision-makers have had the opportunity to take stock of water’s role in the implementation of the water-related SDGs and the Paris climate agreement, with the aim of ensuring water is part of the solutions moving forward.
Water and climate experts called for a Green Water Initiative, as part of a Water Revolution in Africa, a necessity they said, for alleviating hunger on the continent and meeting the Sustainable Development Goals. A group of world-renowned hydro-climate experts said that rainwater harvesting and other green water management methods are key to alleviating hunger in sub-Saharan Africa and meeting the Sustainable Development Goals. Green water is the part of the rain that infiltrates into and is stored in the soil.
Professor Joan B. Rose received the 2016 Stockholm Water Prize for her tireless contributions to global public health; by assessing risks to human health in water and creating guidelines and tools for decision-makers and communities to improve global well-being. The prize was presented to by HM Carl XVI Gustaf, King of Sweden, during a ceremony in Stockholm City Hall during World Water Week. Other royal participation included HRH Crown Princess Victoria, Advocate to the Sustainable Development Goals, giving the opening address at the high-level event, ‘Building a Resilient Future through Water.’
At the close of World Water Week, participants concluded that water must be recognized as the enabler of successful implementation of the entire 2030 Agenda as well as the Paris Climate Agreement. “Water – the lifeline of our planet – will be needed to achieve nearly every Sustainable Development Goal, and to face the challenges that climate change presents,” said Karin Lexén, Director of World Water Week at SIWI.