IWA supporting climate resilient action on water and sanitation

The International Water Association has leveraged international advocacy opportunities and events in recent weeks to raise the profile of the water and sanitation sector and to promote climate proof solutions.

Key amongst these, the IWA team was engaged at the UN Water Conference in March in a variety of sessions, both online and in-person, on climate resilience, sanitation, youth empowerment, partnerships, governance and more. In particular, IWA hosted a high-profile side event in New York on cross-sectoral partnerships to accelerate progress towards inclusive sanitation. This event saw a deeply constructive dialogue among representatives from NGOs and the public and private sectors on securing inclusive urban sanitation globally. High-profile speakers included IWA Executive Director Kala Vairavamoorthy, Grundfos Director of Water Sustainability Virginia Newton-Lewis, Brian Arbogast from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Jennifer Molwantwa from the South Africa Water Research Commission.

This activity built on the presence of IWA’s Inclusive Sanitation Initiative at key events in the Africa region, namely the Uganda Water & Environment Week 2023 and the 21st AfWA Congress & Exhibition and the 7th International Faecal Sludge Management Conference, where the team delivered workshops and impactful case stories promoting inclusivity for resilient, water-wise, and sanitation-secure cities.

IWA’s Specialist Group on Rainwater Harvesting and Management was also very active around the UN Water Conference, taking part in several side events and adding contributions to the UN Water Action Agenda. The group promotes sustainable use of rainwater, with projects such as the Rain School Initiative in Monsoon regions to overcome the climate crisis. The objective of this initiative is to raise the awareness of schools and students about the importance of rainwater through activities on climate change, rainwater harvesting and sustainable water management practices. A virtual side event on the rain school initiative was held during the UN Water Conference as a way to unlock the potential of rainwater to achieve SDG6, kickstarted with a presentation by Mooyoung Han, Professor at Seoul National University and founder of the IWA Specialist Group on Rainwater Harvesting and Management.

The UN Water Conference has generated much-needed momentum and delivered over 700 voluntary Water Action Agenda Commitments to help accelerate progress on SDG6. IWA’s activities over the coming months that will help build on this renewed momentum include:

  • The IWA Water and Development Congress & Exhibition in Kigali, Rwanda, 10-14 December 2023, will deliver a comprehensive programme under the theme of water, sanitation, and climate resilience – keys to a water-wise future. Submissions are closing soon on 30 April. Find out more and submit your proposed content.
  • The Leading-Edge Conference on Water & Wastewater Technologies in Daegu, South Korea (29 May – 2 June 2023) will present solutions to achieve sustainability through innovations. Registration is open.
  • A Climate Smart Utilities webinar series focused on tackling and measuring GHG emissions in water utilities. The first webinar ‘Towards a Climate Neutral Water Sector: the Nordic Experience’ takes place on 2 May. Register here for free.

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