[Crónicas ResEAU] COSUDE en la World Water Week 2019: “Agua para la sociedad: incluidos todos” – Domingo 25 de agosto

La seguridad hídrica, expresada en el lema “agua para todos”, exige un cambio de paradigma en la gestión de los recursos hídricos. La ciencia, la tecnología y la colaboración de todos los agentes es clave para que el cambio climático no frene el logro de los ODS

Más de 3.000 expertos, profesionales, líderes, innovadores de negocios y jóvenes profesionales de una variedad de sectores y países participaron de la celebración de la Semana Mundial del Agua 2019. El encuentro buscó encontrar soluciones a los retos actuales del recurso hídrico, bajo el lema: “Agua para la sociedad: incluidos todos”.

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.

Sunday, August 25, 2019
Financing water risk through nature-based solutions: Insurance, investment, regulation
Kenneth Peralta

The presentations and discussion on how to reduce water risk through NbSW emphazises that we have to reduce gap for the implementation of new intervention on NbSW by enabling conditions (in terms of legal instruments) and also improving capacities at subnational levels to development projects with quality standards.

An additional aspect is to work on “behaviour change” to encourage decision makers to promote NbSW interventions.

In terms of insurance, the development towards sustainable finance can only apply gradually as insurers are faced with transition risk.

Water4Peace: The Blue Peace Index Launch
Nadine Fragnière 

In this session, the Economist Intelligence Unit and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation officially presented the Blue Peace Index to the audience. The attendants were considerable and the overall impression was positive. 

After the explanation of the key pillars of the index and the five-river basin, a panel discussion followed where interesting topics linked with the index were raised:

  1. We should not wait to have the complete information and data available about a basin to begin to collaborate. 
  2. The water sector has a traditionally high risk for investment. However, under the influence of shareholders, investment banks are ready to increase their risk tolerance and decrease their return on investments.
  3. When the free access of data is a sensitive issue in specific countries, we should rather focus on sharing data as a first step of collaboration rather than pushing for free open access.

Online links: https://bluepeaceindex.eiu.com/#/

Leaving No One Behind, the UN World Water Development Report
Kenneth Peralta

As one of the most vulnerable population, refugees are in the center of discussion.and there are actions identified  to promote their inclusion:

  1. Remove legal and social discrimination and promote equality of access to basic water and sanitation services for both refugees and host communitites
  2. Ensure inclusion of refugees, asylum-seekers, stateless persons and internally displaced people in national development and financing plans for WASH services
  3. Allow refugeess right to work and pay for water supply and sanitation services

Link to the report: https://en.unesco.org/themes/water-security/wwap/wwdr/2019

The value of water: A new digital tool for business
Nadine Fragnière 

This session showcased the new business tool developed by WWF and the German Development Finance Institution (DEG) named the Water risk filter. This corporate water risk assessment helps enterprises to identify the financial impacts of water risks (floods, pollution, etc..) at the basin and at the site-based operational levels. By assessing the risk exposure of enterprises and developing a set of recommendations to respond to them, this tool incentivizes enterprises to take resilient actions and more actively engage in water stewardship.

You could find the online tool here: https://waterriskfilter.panda.org/

Equity in Climate Change Adaptation
Xenia Kirchhofer

The interactive three-part seminar shone a spotlight on equity and inclusion in climate change adaptation. It started out with a general definition of vulnerability, highlighting the differential impact of disasters on different countries and groups, which underlined that disasters are in fact not “natural”, but largely “man-made”. A lively panel discussion emphasized the need to recognize root causes of discrimination, while making sure that the most vulnerable are included in assessments and interventions.

The second part of the seminar presented different tools for equitable climate change adaptation. These included examples ranging from flood risk mapping in Haiti to rooftop gardening in Palestine to water safety plans in Vanuatu. Presenters underlined the need for long-term approaches to achieve lasting change: “we overestimate what we can do in one year, and we underestimate what we can do in a lifetime”.

The third and final part of the seminar took a critical look at how equitable climate change can be brought to scale. The African Development Bank’s Director for Water and Sanitation, Ms. Wambui Gichuri, described different challenges to upscaling, such as the lack of a legal and institutional framework, weak mainstreaming capacity, insufficient information about how to access climate funds, and the low priority accorded to water investments by governments.

Despite these and many other challenges, the seminar concluded on a hopeful note: if disasters are anthropogenic, then humans also have it in their hands to prevent them.  

Quality Unknown: The World’s Invisible Water Quality Crisis
Nadine Fragnière

This session presented new publications by the World Bank and the OECD on deteriorating water quality and emerging pollutants. As this issue is being more and more prominent at a global scale, questions were raised on how effectively governments should respond to water pollution. The most important problems reagrding water quality are eutrophication and dead zones areas. In the US, the cost of eutrophication on the fish population was estimated to reach 78 billion of dollars per year.

Several issues were raised during the discussion: 1) groundwater quality data are almost inexistent and greatly limits the possibility of a comprehensive global assessment 2). There are often conflicting interests by the government in subsidizing agriculture while at the same time pushing for improved water quality. 3) water quality should not be tackled in isolation but in combination with other agendas like food production (land use), health and climate change.

Link to the report: : https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/handle/10986/32245

OECD report: https://www.oecd.org/env/resources/diffuse-pollution-degraded-waters-9789264269064-en.htm

https://www.oecd.org/environment/resources/pharmaceutical-residues-in-freshwater-c936f42d-en.htm

“Practical IWRM: How it works in different contexts
Gilbert Monnard 

Experiences and lessons learnt from 4 concrete cases:

  • Shrinking of lake Urmia, Iran due to water overuse and climate change
  • Land subsidence and fast sinking of Jakarta city, Indonesia due to groundwater over-abstraction
  • Decreasing groundwater levels in South Kordofan, Sudan due to over-abstraction for agriculture
  • Heavy contamination of Rocha river due to urbanization in Cochabamba, Bolivia.

The main implemented countermeasures include:

  • Creation of dedicated management and coordination mechanisms (gov. or multi-stakeholder) with secured legitimacy
  • Implementation of data collection systems (hydrogeological, social etc)
  • Building common understanding of issues among all stakeholders, based on evidence
  • Capacity development, awareness raising and education
  • Adaptation of laws and regulations, and their enforcement
  • Realistic action planning and agenda, bringing successful experience (quick-wins) and trust
  • Diversification of water resources, water-saving measures, water treatment.

Climate Security: moving towards reduced insecurity
Aref Haza’ Alalaween Mufleh 

The water conflict events have been continuously increasing over the previous decades  but very rapidly since 1990.Different case studies were presented from Afghanistan , Mali , Iraq and  America (Colorado river basin). In order to mitigate conflicts at national and region levels there is a need to create trust building by implementing some tangible interventions benefiting users, data sharing and capacity building . Most importantly, Specific Institute will publish a report about the solutions of the conflicts over the water resources, where the solutions will be listed under the following categories:

  • Technologies and infrastructures  
  • Economic 
  • Institution and 
  • Legal and laws 

There was an interesting dialogue mechanism set up by Mali over Niger river, in order to institutionalize   the dialogue they established  union for each sector e.g agriculture, industrial , domestic .etc.  in addition, they established an overall Alliance gathers all the sectors, the sectors discuss the issues of their concern within their unions and take up these issues to the Alliance to be further discussed and concluded. This approach has contributed in an effective dialogue and trust building 

Mobilising national and local governments for human rights to WASH
Aref Haza’ Alalaween Mufleh 

Case studies and projects in countries from Africa, Asia and Europe were presented and showed how governments can find practical ways to perform human right to water and sanitation. Some countries used score card approach and others used different tools. All approach emphasized on the importance of;

  • Carrying out self-assessment on equitable access to water and sanitation
  • Identifying   of the gaps 
  • Developing action plan to improve the HR to W and S

Common agreement among all was the   crucial role of the local communities in improving HR to WS and how the awareness of the decision makers was raised on HR to WS due to the implementation of the above approaches.

Audiences and panelists highlighted the most difficult challenges in performing human rights to water and sanitation;

  • What would motivate governments to perform HR to Water and Sanitation?
  • Having an effective monitoring approach
  • Legal framework 
  • Water took all the attention of the governments on the account of sanitation

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La Agencia Suiza para el Desarrollo y la Cooperación (COSUDE) es la entidad encargada de la cooperación internacional dentro del Departamento Federal de Asuntos Exteriores (DFAE). Con otras oficinas de la Confederación, la COSUDE es responsable de la coordinación general de la cooperación para el desarrollo y de la cooperación con los Países del Este, así como de los programas de ayuda humanitaria suizos.