Millions of lives could be at risk if we don’t take the water crisis and global warming more seriously. World Water Week closed on Friday amid calls for governments, institutions and companies to start applying the water-based solutions that already exist – and include everyone in the process.
The world’s leading annual water event, World Water Week, ended on Friday in Stockholm with warnings of looming dangers as well as rays of hope. Among the 4,000 participants from 138 countries, a third were under the age of 35 and their presence was highly noticeable throughout the conference. “It’s been very inspiring how we young professionals get to share our knowledge and are increasingly being listened to,” said Sara Löwgren from the Water Youth Network during Friday’s closing ceremony.
On Thursday, Professor Johan Rockström turned directly to the young participants, saying: “You are the only ones who can truly speak on behalf of the future.” He assured the audience that science tells us that there is still a chance to save the planet if we manage to cut carbon emissions by half in the coming decade but that we must use this window of opportunity.
Many of the Week’s over 250 sessions focused on water as a solution to challenges such as climate change and food scarcity. With the theme of the event being Water for Society: Including All research was presented on the importance of integrating the perspectives of all ages, genders and social groups.
Torgny Holmgren, Executive Director of the organizer SIWI, described this as the essence of good water governance, adding: “Compared to previous years I see a new focus on the role of governments, cities and local communities, with many inspiring examples.”
In the closing ceremony, Parameswaran Iyer from the Indian government described their massive undertakings to ensure that all Indians get access so clean water and safe sanitation before 2024. “In a campaign that started 1 July, we’ve sent out 1200 government officials in the field to talk to people about water conversation. This is how we change behaviours,” he said.