September 1, 2018 GovernanceSDGsSociety

5th International Water Regulators Forum, at the IWA World Water Congress & Exhibition

How can regulatory authorities enable resilience and sustainable development? The answer is nature

Regulators continue to have an important role in world advancements towards delivery across the Sustainable Development Goals (GLAAS, 2017), but there is still a growing policy and regulatory gap ahead to fulfill. During the 4th International Water Regulators Forum in 2017, 79 participants from discussed about their role in supporting and enabling to achieve these Global Goals at various levels of action – i.e. basin, city and utility levels, under the rubric “Making Sustainable Development Goals Possible”.

The mandate for “universal”, “equitable” and “adequate” access and sustainable supply in SDG6 demands long-term planning and collective actions of diverse and interdependent stakeholders. At each level of action understanding the risks under given institutional settings (and capacity) and where accountabilities sit is crucial. Sound information on demand and use, system yields and hydrology are necessary precondition to any robust planning and reforms, moving from a contingency approach towards a water security one.

Today, cities like Cape Town –internationally recognized by their efforts in water management, but now struggling with running out of water, the “Day Zero”– remind us that natural systems underpins resiliency for water and wastewater services. Action towards nature-based solutions for resiliency does not need to stop here; if we look at nature as a source of inspiration and capability, then novel nature-based solutions can be strategically planned and engineered to provide solutions for current and future water problems in cities and basins.

IWA set up the International Water Regulators Forum to facilitate dialogue across sectors and regulatory functions –e.g. economic, health, environmental regulation– to enable synergies, peer to peer learning and building new partnerships that facilitate collaboration and inform water-wise policies and regulations. To date, the Forum has successfully gathered in Lisbon 2014 (Lisbon Charter), London 2015, Brisbane 2016 and Buenos Aires 2017, reaching to over 120 regulatory institutions from more than 90 jurisdictions in all continents and becoming a one of a kind global network of regulators.

This year, at the IWA World Water Congress & Exhibition, 16-21 September 2018 in Tokyo, Japan, IWA is happy to host the 5th International Water Regulators Forum. This edition will encourage discussions about regulatory instruments and approaches that facilitate the integration and long-term value of nature based solutions, addressing the SDG challenge towards water-related ecosystems and their services (SDG 6.6 and 15.1) by 2030, to reach resilient and sustainable universal access to water and sanitation for all. 

Regulators Forum #WorldWaterCongress from IWA on Vimeo.

Nature based systems (NBS) can be robust and adaptive in the face of ongoing environmental change, and because they use natural inputs and structures they can also be inexpensive and self-repairing. The down sides of nature based systems are that they are complex and may evolve in ways we cannot control or predict. They can be impacted by non-chosen actors, like disease, invasive species, and implemented processes.  NBS may take a long time to grow and produce benefits, making interim controls still necessary, which can be hard to defend in sponsor budgets. NBS approaches can involve different layers of government and must take into account the diverse stakeholder views while promoting environmental, economic, societal and financial sustainability.

Structure of the 5th International Water Regulators Forum

The 5th International Water Regulators Forum is organized in two closed sessions and one open plenary (check the details of the programme), followed by a series of sessions throughout the week (see highlighted events at the end).

Programme Committee

Content and structure of the IWRF is advised by a Programme Committee integrated by representatives from regulatory authorities and public officials with renowned experience and expertise.

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