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Water security under spotlight at meeting of global water experts post COP 26

  • Water security under spotlight at meeting of global water experts post COP 26
  • Global leaders call on experts for urgent water data and research to inform climate mitigation and adaptation preparedness

About the entity

International Water Resources Association
IWRA is a non-profit, non-governmental, international member-based association established in 1971. 2021 marks its 50th anniversary.
Schneider Electric

Themes

A threat to water is a threat to life – that’s the collective message from policymakers, scientists, academics and legal experts as they meet in Daegu, South Korea’s water hub, this week at the World Water Congress.

The World Water Congress is organised triennially by the Paris-based International Water Resources Association (IWRA) and, this year, is hosted jointly with the Ministry of Environment.  The theme of this week’s discussions is Foundations for Global Water Security and Resilience: Knowledge, Technology and Policy.

The Congress comes just a few weeks after COP26 / UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow and will provide an opportunity for water experts to re-convene to assess the increasing challenge presented by water insecurity arising from climate change. Key themes include:

  • Managing water scarcity
  • Reducing disaster risk
  • Water sanitation and public health

It also provides a first opportunity for experts to reflect on lessons from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Speaking from Brussels at the opening ceremony of the World Water Congress Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius, the European Commissioner for the Environment, called on experts meeting in Korea for more data and research saying: “Water knows no borders. It is an area where cooperation is essential, across river-basins, countries and continents. That’s what makes the international World Water Congress so important, ensuring we are not divided by water, but brought together through regional cooperation…  To understand the interconnections, we need more research and innovation. They will help develop the tools and rules we need and the solutions to deliver lasting change”.

Addressing assembled experts, H.E. Mr. TIAN Xuebin, Vice Minister, Chinese Ministry of Water Resources said: “With the (Congress') theme of global water security and the resilience of water resource systems, it is particularly important to exchange policies, knowledge and scientific achievements, which attracts the attention of countries worldwide.  To that end we are honoured to host the XVIII World Water Congress in 2023 in Beijing”.

Professor Gabriel Eckstein from Texas A&M University and IWRA President said: “Water touches all aspects of our changing climate and how we live – from food to fuel, including managing a pandemic.  The frontline preventative step during the Covid-19 pandemic is to wash our hands.  But what do you do if you only have access to a dirty or contaminated water supply, or no water at all?  Better understanding of the complexity of water resource management presents an opportunity to mitigate the risks that water insecurity presents. Knowledge is key, which is why this year’s World Water Congress is so important”.

Other ministers speaking at the opening ceremony include water ministers from Korea and Senegal.

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