The theme of World Water Week 2021 is Building Resilience Faster, with a focus on concrete solutions to the world’s greatest water-related challenges, starting with the climate crisis and including water scarcity, food security, health, biodiversity, and impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.
World Water Week 2021 Summary Thematic Scope Building Resilience Faster. The Thematic Scope is developed by the Scientific Programme Committee and frames World Water Water’s theme. Here you can find its executive summary and access to the full scope.
World Water Week 2021 will address one of the most important challenges facing mankind: the climate crisis. Concerned populations and political leaders world-wide, driven by a strong call from the younger generation, are demanding that the data and information provided by scientists are listened to, and that there is a political agenda that recognizes the climate change crisis as the single biggest threat to the world. World Water Week 2021 contributes by focusing on the role of water and on turning climate risks into engagement.
The climate crisis has sharply accentuated the need to transition to truly resilient systems and societies; and highlighted the significant risk to water and development. To accelerate action and build resilience faster, we need a strong focus on concrete examples and cases: what worked, what did not work, and what did we learn? The Covid crisis offers important lessons since building societies that value water and are resilient to pandemics has stark similarities with building resilience to climate change.
Climate change puts disproportionate pressure on the already vulnerable people, in much the same way as they have suffered from the Covid-19 pandemic. Building back better necessitates strengthening resilience to multiple crises and recognizing that water is frequently the stress multiplier. It is essential to build trust, spur innovation, mobilize resources and, above all, to value water. We must discuss how for example nature-based solutions can help address water and sanitation, which approaches are needed to improve wellbeing for vulnerable women and children and how we can strengthen resilience through financial mechanisms and/or partnerships.
Another priority, so far largely unexplored, should be facilitating synergies between climate change mitigation and adaptation. Management and governance of agriculture, forestry, energy production and water require a more integrated response. The impact of Covid-19 and the ongoing climate crisis have demonstrated how vulnerable urban water management systems are and how they affect the livelihoods and health of urban dwellers, especially in low-income settlements. Utilities face the challenge of providing water supply for all, while ensuring full cost-recovery and enhancing their resilience capacity.
Climate, ecosystems, society, and economies interact dynamically and water is often the connector. Embracing multiple water values across sectors and boundaries is vital for responding to shared risks including climate change and the economic recession triggered by Covid-19. Resilience can be enhanced by the use of data and information, ground-truthing, governance, and justice.
World Water Week 2021 will focus on innovation and science towards building a resilient future, illustrated by examples and ideas. We have no excuse for inaction: we have enough facts, solutions, experiences, and an increased sense of urgency, to act now.