World Water Week Urges Nations to Cooperate
Global leaders are currently gathered in Stockholm for the 23rd World Water Week (September 01-06), from where they have issued a call for stronger cooperation over water. Over 2,500 participants will engage in discussions on the theme “Water Cooperation – Building Partnerships”. Delegates are trying to come up with innovative ways to move toward a water wise future where water is managed equitably and sustainably.
With the world’s population and economies growing fast while the amount of available water remains the same, collaboration over humanity’s most essential resource is more urgent than ever. Addressing the opening session of the World Water Week on Monday, Stockholm International Water Institute Executive Director Mr. Torgny Holmgren said that “mortgaging our future by draining water from the ground, surface and sky faster than it can be replaced by nature is untenable and unwise. It will undermine the stability and security of our entire civilization.”
In order to deal with a growing population slated to reach nine billion people by 2050, experts in Stockholm believe the world needs “unprejudiced cooperation and solid partnerships” in order share and manage the water we have. They say we need to strengthen trans-boundary cooperation because water does not adhere to national boundaries.
“We need to build more and stronger bridges between the public, private and civic sectors, we need to learn not to waste water, to use less of it - in a more sustainable way. Most importantly, we need to make sure that every person on earth gets access to safe drinking water and sanitation,” conference organizers said in a press statement.
The conference includes more than 100 seminars, workshops and events spread throughout the week. H&M, which is headquartered in Sweden, is taking part of the event, where it is talking about the drivers behind its partnerships on water issues, collaborations with NGOs, the lessons learned from nearly 20 years of water engagement and the main challenges lying ahead.
A new partnership with WWF takes the whole supply chain into account. Besides, H&M is also introducing a global sustainability e-learning program with water as a key ingredient so that all of H&M 104,000 employees can learn about the importance of water. In addition, H&M designers and buyers will receive further training in the water impacts of raw material production as well as wet processes for different styles, to promote more sustainable choices.
Over in Bangladesh, a new partnership called the Bangladesh Water Partnership for Cleaner Textile is underway to tackle the country’s water crisis and improve the sustainability in textile wet processing. H&M is a core sponsor in the $11m program which links textile buyers, their factories and surrounding communities on a shared sustainability agenda.
The event in Stockholm is also a platform of recognition of water luminaries. During the week, the prestigious Stockholm Water Prize will be awarded to Dr. Peter Morgan of Zimbabwe for his life-long work to protect the health and lives of millions of people through improved sanitation and water technologies.
Other prizes to be presented is the Stockholm Industry Water Award, which will be awarded to the Israeli company Netafim, for pioneering drip and micro-irrigation technology worldwide, and the Stockholm Junior Water Prize, which is given to one national team from 28 competing countries.
Image credit: World Water Week