World Water Week

World Water Week

From their site:

Experts from 140 Countries to Address Water, Environment, Livelihoods and Poverty Reduction in Stockholm

Sharing Benefits from Water, Water for Food, and Disaster Preparedness Issues Highlight Packed Agenda

STOCKHOLM – The 2006 World Water Week in Stockholm continues its important role at the nexus of the water, environment, development and poverty reduction fields when it takes place August 20-26 at the Stockholm City Conference Centre in the Swedish capital. The World Water Week is hosted and organised by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI).

The World Water Week will be a venue for the presentation of concrete examples of how problems of poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy, environmental degradation and gender inequality can in large measure be solved with water and sanitation as the key entry points. The week emphasises capacity-building, partnership-building and follow-up on the implementation of international processes and programmes in water and development. Participants in Stockholm will represent businesses, governments, the water management and science sectors, inter-governmental organisations, NGOs, research and training institutions, United Nations agencies and more.

Over 100 different organisations and programmes are on board as convenors or co-convenors of different activities and more than 1500 participants are expected from 140 countries. The week-long programme is comprised of plenary sessions, panel debates, workshops, seminars, side events, technical tours, social events and prize ceremonies.

In 2006, the overarching World Water Week theme is “Beyond the River – Sharing Benefits and Responsibilities”. This is a paradigm-shifting concept in the water sector, since for example livelihoods around the world are increasingly dependent upon transboundary and transbasin water contexts – shared water, in short – and societies are becoming more urban. How benefits from water are generated, distributed and shared in this context will help determine the overall welfare of both people and the planet in this century.

Further, three related sub-themes will explore the prospects for co-operation over shared waters, how our land use affects our water quality and water quantity, and what can be done to cope with weather- and climate-related disasters.

“’Sharing benefits’ is a future-oriented approach in water and development, because it means looking at water from the perspective of what can be derived from it, for whom and by whom, and not the water per se,” says Mr. Anders Berntell, Executive Director of SIWI. “The World Water Week this year will explore the links between benefits, costs and responsibilities, for instance, in physical planning and infrastructure design, including water and sanitation services and pollution abatement.”

The land is the home to human activities, and what happens there also affects water quality and quantity. “The landscape is the source and the sink for society’s needs and wants, and it mirrors human ingenuity as well as ignorance,” says Professor Jan Lundqvist of SIWI, chair of the week’s Scientific Programme Committee. “Natural resources use and waste disposal are intimately linked to human existence and must be managed more effectively.”
Also, the Stockholm meeting will look at natural disasters and society’s vulnerability to the forces of Nature. For different reasons, the impact of these forces is increasingly severe. While extreme events will come perhaps with greater frequency, it should be possible to plan and cope with emergencies and disaster situations so that suffering, loss of life and damage to property can be avoided on the scales as seen in the Tsunami aftermath, New Orleans and elsewhere.
I will be following news about this all week.