IWA Side Event at the 2023 UN Water Conference:​ Communicating water: a game-changer for acceleration and innovation

IWA, IHE Delft, Water Science Policy, IUCN, YOUNGO, Swiss Water Partnership, Grundfos Communication, Youth, Innovation

Target Audience

Water and sanitation professionals, policymakers, youth, local authorities, the scientific and technological community, industry and attendees of the UN 2023 Water Conference

Time: 10:30-11:45 NY Time


The International Water Association (IWA) and its partners are pleased to host this virtual event as an official side event of the UN 2023 Water Conference.

Around us, there are people who are driven by emotions, others by research and fundamentals, business or advocacy. All of us want to move the water agenda forward. But one can only go so far. The contribution of one agent is limited by the contribution of the other agents. When writing a symphony, we need to assign melodies to different instruments, the strings, the woodwinds, the brass and the percussion. It is this coordinated sound that touches hearts, inspires movements and ultimately creates a better place.

Additionally, considering the anticipated rise in global average temperature and water issues, the need for increased cooperation for achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 and operationalizing the voluntary commitments by stakeholders is more than ever. While these stakeholders (private and sector, United Nations (UN) agencies, and UN member states) are taking center stage in lieu of raising ambitions to achieve SDGs, accelerating progress towards meaningful participation for the water corporation is yet parting to look around.

Therefore, in this session, we understand that it is crucial to bring all agents to the water stage, understand each other’s language (role and processes) and coordinate action to drive the Water Agenda. 

This virtual event is in partnership with:


Learning Objectives

There is a continuous churning of new knowledge, findings and innovation in the water sector, mostly communicated in scientific journals, conference proceedings and technical workshops. This narrow communication style often keeps valuable voices and potential allies out of the conversation. To maximise the impact of these innovations and knowledge, all stakeholders in the value chain of the water and sanitation sector need to know, value and understand the implications of new findings for their operations.  

All stakeholders in the value chain of the water and sanitation sector need to be increasingly aware of the communication opportunities that are available to them, in order to maximise their impact and reach a wider network that goes beyond the conventional science-policy ‘echo-chamber’. As the contemporary world of communication and knowledge-sharing evolves, it presents new opportunities which are more inclusive and accessible to all. This session will explore these opportunities and will also provide useful tips for communicating complex policy issues, and turning complex scientific jargon into effective and simple language to reach a wider audience.  

This session will present a triple helix of water communication to support the effective acceleration and innovation within the sector, for maximum policy and advocacy impact. The three angles are: 

1) Communication to raise awareness of the value of water to the general public (through the arts, education, and news);  

2) Communication to promote science-based policy-making (open access research, science cooperation, capacity building, and advocacy); 

3) Intergenerational communication (talking about water as a business, entrepreneurship, and integration of youth perspectives in business for the acceleration of actions to reach goals such as the SDGs, climate goals and the water decade objectives).


Format of the session

The session will start with a 2 min video presentation from each of the speakers answering a prepared question.

All speakers will be called on “stage” to share their experiences on effective inter- and intra-stakeholder communication for operationalizing the commitments under Water Action Agenda and coordinated action.

The speakers might outline concrete actions such as useful communication tips, how to harness the science-communication-policy nexus, and successful campaigns which have led to real positive impact. Lastly, the interaction between the audience and the panelists is encouraged through Q&A. 


Additional materials

Presentation slides: available here.


International Water Association