A Common Agenda to Better Manage Freshwater Resources
Global Water Futures (GWF) programs’ second Annual Open Science Meeting took place in Saskatoon from 15-17, May 2019 and provided the experts and projects of the GWF community an opportunity to interact and share their scientific findings and outcomes, activities and achievements. A broad spectrum of users/stakeholders with a significant focus on the participation of young professionals, members, and affiliates of the GWF projects and its extended community of partners shared their perspective on better management of freshwater resources. The design of the event was exciting, informative and provided an excellent platform to review and better link together technical and scientific advancements, capacity development agenda, along with the integration of local and indigenous knowledge aspects. The emphasis on engaging with local and indigenous partners and stakeholders was a key highlight of the event. The meeting, attended by more 600 experts from Canada and abroad noted as the largest freshwater focused development in/of Canada (photo).
The high-level talks by leading scientists on water security and water governance highlighted vital gaps and needs in global and national scale water management planning, implementation, and policy. Of interest was the talk by Prof Claudia Pahl-Wostl, of University of Osnabrück, Germany- Water governance –from diagnosis to transformative change’ that emphasized the need to manage the complexity of socio-cultural and socio-political aspects that apply in the context of adaptive water management. The speech of David Grimes, President of the World Meteorological Organization and Assistant Deputy Minister in charge of the Meteorological Service of Canada, ‘Thoughts on Water: Challenges and Opportunities for Canada’ presented intersecting dimensions of Canada’s effort to manage freshwater systems related crisis and challenges and how such efforts connect with the global discourse on water management and climate change adaptation. Overall, the sessions focusing on ‘Climate and Hydrology,’ ‘Human Dimensions and Hydro-Economics’ and ‘Ecosystems and Water Quality’ listed an impressive range and quality of arguments presented from the research undertaken across GWF projects and activities.
Prof Claudia Pahl-Wostl, University of Osnabrück, Germany
David Grimes, President of the World Meteorological Organization and Assistant Deputy Minister in charge of the Meteorological Service of Canada
UNU-INWEH has contributed on two GWF projects ‘Southern Forests Water Futures’ and ‘Co-creation of Indigenous Water Quality Tools’ as a critical resource and knowledge partner. With that context, Prof Nancy Doubleday (Department of Philosophy, McMaster University and adjunct with UNU-INWEH) talk on ‘Keys to Adaptive Water Futures: Governance, Engagement, and Equity’ illustrated how, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular, SDG 6 goals and targets is steering the agenda of ensuring availability and sustainable management of water for all, how this emerging thinking can provide a global platform to cross-scale work of knowledge integration for sustainable water futures. Discussions included a set of conceptual narratives to cross scales, boundaries, disciplines, and diverse socio-economic interests, towards a common agenda of creating resilient communities and stakeholders for adaptive water governance. The focus on the realization of water rights and justice in the fast changing socio-economic and socio-political scenarios, by employing the United Nations Resolution 64/292 (Human right to water and sanitation). A key focus of the discussion was on the significance of knowledge exchange and experiential learning tools, that quoted Water Learning Center (WLC) and Water Without Borders programmes as key examples.
Prof Nancy Doubleday, Department of Philosophy, McMaster University and Adjunct Professor, UNU-INWEH)
My talk ‘Leaving No One Behind’- Guiding vision for Global Water Security’ in the Human Dimension session highlighted the key aspects from World Water Development Report (WWDR 2019) and the concept of ‘Leaving No One Behind,’ providing an overview of the relevance of informed policy and inclusive decision-making and need of a directional agenda to the water community worldwide, users and managers, to improve availability, accessibility, and quality-related challenges in the water provisioning services [ particularly for individuals and groups living in vulnerable situations]. The presentation also emphasized on the key highlights of the recently launched ‘Global Assessment’; report of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), mainly on the aspects of freshwater systems.
Dr Nidhi Nagabhatla, Senior Researcher, UNU-INWEH
UNU-INWEH has actively supported GWF agenda through association with two projects and remained dedicated to foster discussion and collaboration, on domains of joint research with Canadian experts and institutions to support catalysis of research and capacity-building partnerships, with universities in Canada and to contribute to the ongoing Canadian dialogue on mitigation of water security-related challenges through its research and capacity development initiative.