IWSN Director at World Water Week in Stockholm

World Water Week, which took place over five days in Stockholm, saw over 3,200 participants from 133 countries attend several hundred sessions, share experiences, and discuss solutions to the world’s most critical water challenges.

It was, as always, full of interesting events, beginning with my participation in the ‘Revaluing Water’ workshop (see photo), a follow-on from World Water Day events in March. Also useful was a session on green infrastructure as a form of ‘insurance’, led by Elena Lopez-Gunn, and a fringe session on the challenge of accountability in WASH programmes in the Global South, led by Nick Hepworth from Water Witness International.

Resilience was a big theme at this year’s World Water Week. Mark Watts from C40, a network of the world’s megacities, told participants about the risks that big cities face from climate change and how water is key to mitigation and adaptation efforts. “We see that water pattern disruption is often the first sign of serious climate impacts and 70 per cent of our member cities tell us that they are already seeing the significant and negative impacts of climate change. 64 per cent of our member cities face significant risk from surface and flash floods”, Watts said, adding that water must be part of climate mitigation programmes, but also a central part of climate adaptation.

This is one reason why I found myself in several sessions exploring the role of green infrastructure in enhancing the resilience of urban socio-technical systems. Next year’s UN Water theme is nature-based solutions, so expect lots more attention on these topics in 2018.