With an increasing lack of sustainable water sources around the world, this year’s Stockholm World Water Week focuses on creating new ways of reducing water use without reducing quality of life, and reusing wastewater in safe manners.
Each year, a week-long global water conference is held in Sweden. The Stockholm World Water Week (SWWW) addresses a wide range of the world’s water, development and sustainability issues and related concerns of international development.
Over 3,300 participants - including NIC staff - attended the conference this year, featuring experts and members from business, governments, water management and science sectors, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, research and training institutes, and United Nations agencies.
The conference features plenary sessions and panel debates, scientific workshops, poster exhibitions, side events and seminars. More than 200 organizations from around 130 countries all over the world collaborate in the organization of events. Functioning as an open and dynamic platform, SWWW aims to help link practice, science, policy and decision making, and enables participants to exchange views and experiences, form partnerships and shape joint solutions to global water challenges.
This year’s theme was “Water and waste: Reduce and reuse”. With extended and devastating droughts around the world, public debate about how to adapt to a new normal, involving less available freshwater, is being fueled by the realization that droughts and scarcity will increasingly affect all of us. Therefore this year’s theme about creating ways of reducing water use without reducing quality of life, and reusing wastewater in safe manners, is absolutely relevant and urgent.
NIC staff from different offices, and members of the water group, participated in SWWW. The main objective was to (1) attend different sessions, learn and get inspiration about the current developments in the water sector, (2) discuss and exchange ideas with colleagues and fellow members of the water group and (3) network and meet with donors, potential partners and experts as well as making them enthusiastic about NIC’s strong competences in the water sector.
Different sessions were attended related to the thematic focus of water and waste but also about other topics like water financing, the upcoming debate about water, conflict and migration and the implementation and monitoring of SDG 6. It could be noticed that during sessions there was a strong focus on the MENA region and large presence of Australian and Dutch conveners and participants.
NIC Participation in SWWW offers a good chance for our water group members to meet face to face and work NIC Across. Led by the TD for Water, Claes Clifford, we spent at least one day during the week, hosted by NIRAS Sweden, to discuss the water pipeline, ongoing tenders and project management.
An example of a good networking opportunity was at the Finnish Pavilion, representing the Finnish Water Sector and organized by the Finnish Water Forum and MFA Finland. NIC has been part of the pavilion and also this year the pavilion exhibited a number of photos taken in NIC water projects financed by MFA Finland. The pavilion has become a popular hang-out for in-between sessions, and a cocktail reception organized by the MFA Finland provided good opportunities for networking with representatives of e.g. DFID, Kenya Water Service Trust Fund, NASA, WRI, Nile Basin Initiative, Cordaid, FCG, UNICEF and others. NIRAS was also mentioned in the speech by the Finnish Minister for Foreign Trade and Development, Mr Kai Mykkänen.
The NIC Water Sector looks forward to continuing its tradition of participating in this important global event, bringing together water practitioners from all around the world. Next year, the 2018 SWWW, to be held from 26 to 31 August, will focus on “Water, Ecosystems and Human Development” – we look forward to a strong participation then with also showcasing some of our own projects. Should anyone feel that a NIC project they are managing would fit to next year’s theme, get in contact with Claes Clifford to discuss possibilities of entering as presenter or panelist.