Suiza participó activamente en la Semana Mundial del Agua, en diferentes sesiones de trabajo que priorizó, en el marco de los lineamientos de su Programa Global Iniciativas Agua. Compartimos las crónicas elaboradas por la Plataforma ResEAU de la COSUDE.
Launch of the Drinking Water Compendium
Stéphanie Piers de Raveschoot
Along the same model as that of the Compendium on Sanitation Systems and Technologies, a new Compendium on Drinking Water Systems and Technologies is in its final stage of approval, before being publicly and openly accessible to all on the Eawag website by the end of the year. The principle is the same : it is a concise, user-friendly menu of what exists to provide drinking water, taking into consideration the type of source water, and the final consumers, from uptake to treatment, distribution, and end storage. The health and enabling environment are also included aspects.
This session presented the UNESCO-IHP International Initiative on Water Quality (IIWQ), aiming to strengthen the technical, scientific and policy capacities of member states in the field of emerging pollutants. Representatives from research institutions in Latin America, South Africa and the Asian Pacific areas discussed the lessons learnt from UNESCO workshops and the remaining challenges they have to face. Similar challenges could be found across the regions:
- analytical techniques and tools are still at an early stage of development in these regions, impeding on the ability to detect small concentration of emerging pollutants
- a comprehensive framework for the regulations and the monitoring of emerging pollutants is lacking
- there is a need of regional reference laboratory (Africa, Asia). In addition, a regional network of laboratories should be developed
- the issue of antibiotics and AMR is from particular importance in the Middle East where no prescriptions is needed to obtain antibiotics
More information about the IIWQ and UNESCO reports on emerging pollutants here: https://en.unesco.org/emergingpollutants
New financing approach to catalyse the circular economy
Stéphanie Piers de Raveschoot
What is needed to further engage in circular economy:
à need a change of mindset: the “tout-à-l’égout” (=relying on sewerage-based connected systems) is not the only or even best answer to sanitation à paradigm shift.
- à transparent dialogue platform
- à building a business case of the viability and financial sustainability of the approach
- à derisking partnerships
- à reinforce environmental frameworks (often existing, but more rarely implemented)
The Forest-Water-Nexus: bringing people and landscapes together
The session provided a brief introduction on the forest-water nexus and the related landscape approach. The FAO then presented their upcoming forest-water indicator framework, which will serve as a tool to mainstream water considerations in forest activities, by taking into account a series of biophysical and socioeconomic indicators. The Swedish Forest Agency presented their Blue Targeting approach, an easy to use tool to classify riparian forest zones and identify measures to be integrated. The same tool has also been successfully applied in Brazil, even though the high variability and low data availability posed a significant challenge. Participants then discussed various other tools, which can be used to address the nexus.
- FAO Forest and Water Programme
- SEI Water Evaluation and Planning System (WEAP)
- Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT)
- World Overview of Conservation Approaches and Technologies (WOCAT)
The session reflected on the systemic challenges taken up by the valuing water initiative (VWI) and the activities that they propose as a methodology, taking into account the High-Level Panel on Water (HLPW) valuing water principles:
- Journeys, demonstrate practical applications of the valuing water principles to policy, business practices and behavior across contexts, sectors, organizations and companies
- Leadership by example, by developing a leadership coalition of frontrunners who commit to learning how to apply the valuing water principles
- Using a learning platform
- Action through inspiration, mobilize effective communication to inspire others to act through inspiration, influence and collaboration.
The main message of the panelist is that valuing water has to connect environmental, economic, social and others aspect in the analysis.
There are multiple links and feedbacks between climate change, water and sanitation, and health. Impacts of climate change, be they slow onset or extreme events, affect water availability and demand. Floods and storms in particular can result in infrastructure damage, interruption of service and decrease in water quality, which in turn increases water-borne diseases. To prevent such negative impacts, vulnerability assessments at local and national level can serve to identify priority areas and measures to be taken. Adaptation options include improved demand management, resource knowledge, diversification and protection of water sources, and disaster preparedness. Sanitation in particular also holds significant potential for climate change mitigation, i.e. the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions through low emission treatment facilities or circular economy approaches.
Swiss evening at the residency on Water and armed conflict
The traditional evening at the Swiss residency in Stockholm tackled the issue of water in armed conflict.
The work of Geneva Water Hub on the review of the international legal framework for the protection of water infrastructure was presented “Geneva List of Principles on the Protection of Water Infrastructure and its Commentaries”.
Representatives from Afghanistan and Jordan shared the struggle they are facing in securing access to basic water related services due to violence in their country or when hosting population fleeing violence in neighboring countries.
ICRC celebrating the 70 years of the Geneva Conventions gave an insight of their long-standing expertise in the provision of water in increasingly complicated context.
UNICEF is pushing forward the agenda of water and peace by publishing a series “water under fire”. It calls for stopping attacks on water and sanitation infrastructure and personnel.
The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute SIPRI shared its observation on the interrelated agendas of peace and development.
Finally The Nederland through its special envoy for Water Amb. Ovink Henk and Switzerland closed by calling for coordinated political engagement for pushing forwards the agenda of water and peace.