This year’s theme of World Water Week held from August 17-23, 2008 in Stockholm, Sweden was “Progress and Prospects on Water: For a Clean and Healthy World” with a special focus on sanitation.
This recognizes the declaration by the United Nations of 2008 as the International Year of Sanitation (IYS). World Water Week in Stockholm brings together more than 1000 people to promote and exchange views and experiences between scientiﬁc, business, policy and civil society communities across the globe, advancing the water agenda. The event focuses on the environmental and health crisis caused by the more than 200 million tonnes of human waste that ends up untreated in water systems, fouling the environment and exposing millions of people to disease.
IUCN and the Global Environmental Flows Network co-convened a seminar during World Water Week on environmental flows and human well-being in partnership with USAID (US Agency for International Development), the Swedish Water House, WWF, The Nature Conservancy, DIVERSITAS, Global Water Systems Project, UNESCO IHP and Wetlands International. The seminar aimed to explore the improvement of human health by safeguarding and restoring aquatic ecosystems. Environmental Flows (eFlows) refers to water provided within a river, wetland or coastal zone to maintain ecosystems and the benefits they provide to people.
Speakers addressed the latest research findings on the links between ecosystem services and the components of human well-being such as food provision and drought regulation. Specific case studies from Australia, China and India were shared as examples of the connection between eFlows and climate change, livelihoods and human health. Cutting-edge approaches were also presented to assess the necessary environmental flow choices and how to integrate these choices into the global development agenda.
The conclusion of the seminar is that more knowledge is needed to explicitly understand the direct linkages between ensuring healthy flows in rivers and human well being. This connection is a crucial step forward in influencing decision-makers on the need to maintain healthy flows for the environment and people.
IUCN staff members took part in a number of other events during Water Week. This ranged from a side event on local water governance in the Middle East (“Improving Local Water Governance and the Access of the Poor to Water: Experiences from Egypt, Jordan and Palestine”) to a full day workshop on water reuse (“Options for Facilitating Multi-Level Stakeholder Participation in Transboundary Water Management: Experiences from the Volta Water Governance Project”). In addition, IUCN co-sponsored two booths: Water and Climate Change, in partnership with the Cooperative Programme on Water and Climate, the World Water Council and Netherlands Union of Waterboards. The Environmental Flows booth was sponsored by members of the Global Environmental Flows Network, which includes IUCN.
About World Water Week in Stockholm
World Water Week is the leading annual global meeting place for capacity-building, partnership-building and follow-up on the implementation of international processes and programmes in water and development.
For more information and full programme agenda, please visit: www.worldwaterweek.org
About the World Conservation Union (IUCN)
Created in 1948, the World Conservation Union (IUCN) brings together 83 States, 110 government agencies, 800 plus NGOs, and some 10,000 scientists and experts from 181 countries in a unique worldwide partnership. The Union’s mission is to influence, encourage and assist societies throughout the world to conserve the integrity and diversity of nature and to ensure that any use of natural resources is equitable and ecologically sustainable.
The Union is the world's largest environmental knowledge network and has helped over 75 countries to prepare and implement national conservation and biodiversity strategies. The Union is a multicultural, multilingual organization with 1,000 staff located in 62 countries. Its headquarters are in Gland, Switzerland.
More information can be found at www.iucn.org/water
Notes to editors
For more information or to set up interviews, please contact:
Claire Warmenbol, Tel: +41 22 999 0188, [email protected]
Katharine Cross, In Stockholm, Mob: +41 79 737 8714, [email protected]
Interviews: Photos and Bios of IUCN experts present at World Water Week are available online: http://cms.iucn.org/about/work/programmes/water/wp_contacts/index.cfm