World Water Week 2013

World Water Week is here and this year, the focus is on water cooperation and building partnerships.

The UN declared 2013 the International Year of Water Cooperation. World Water Week looks at addressing some big questions:

  • Why do we need to cooperate?
  • On what?
  • For what aim?
  • At what level?
  • With whom?
  • How?

They seem simple, but the answers tend to be complex and specific to each person and community. From the World Water Week’s purpose and scope:

We need to understand how ‘my water use’ effect [sic] everybody else’s, and enter into meaningful and informed dialogues with other people and communities of practice, inside and outside the “water box”, engaged in using, or wasting or polluting, our common and shared water resource. In this endeavour we need to engage with groups of people who can help us understand the very essence of cooperation: what is cooperation? What drives people, states and organisations to “cooperate” rather than “defect”? What determines the direct and indirect reciprocities that make us cooperate, and the mechanisms of selection of those with whom we want to do so? And how do we identify and measure the quality, aim, benefits and barriers to cooperation, and create an enabling environment for cooperation? How can more effective cooperation enable us to reach future-oriented decisions and force implementation, and how can we best build partnerships among actors to achieve common goals?

A series of workshops in Stockholm, Sweden is focusing on how to accomplish this. Five areas of cooperation will be explored:

  1. Cooperation between actors in different sectors – optimizing benefits to water
  2. Cooperation between stakeholder groups – recognizing water as a common good
  3. Cooperation across traditional management – from hilltop to ocean
  4. Cooperation between jurisdictions and levels – from village to transboundary basin
  5. Cooperation between scientists and users – bridging the science-policy gap

Water is a basic need of all people. With population increases, sharing the limited supplies of fresh water will be challenging. World Water Week will take a look at the difficulties and discuss viable solutions.

Water splash photo via Shutterstock

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