October 6, 2015 Climate changeSociety

Accelerating Water Solutions for Emerging Economies, Beyond the Sustaniable Development Goals

The Hague, 05.10.15 – Water security, both availability and quality, is one of the most critical issues the world is confronted with today. Increased water scarcity is affecting every corner of the globe; left unchecked it is predicted to affect more than 1.8 billion people by 2050. The greatest impacts of this are being felt in developing and emerging economies, where it is being amplified by climate change, the cause of frequent, extreme floods and droughts; urbanisation and population growth; changing consumption patterns; industrialisation; and growing agricultural demand.

“Water is pivotal for societal development and sustainable economic growth”, says Dr. Ger Bergkamp, Executive Director of the International Water Association. “Yet there is enormous potential to address these challenges by implementing available solutions and best practice at scale, as well as through innovations in science, technology, practice and policy.”

The IWA Water and Development Congress, held in Jordan 18-22 October, will bring together water science and research with the public and private sectors, financial institutions and policy makers, to drive water cooperation and water solutions that can be applied globally.

Dr. Ger Bergkamp continued, “Emerging economies and developing countries face some of the biggest and most disruptive water challenges. The West Asia and North Africa region is one of the most arid in the world with major water scarcity issues. It is a region also undergoing significant socio-political and economic transitions. It represents both the ‘worst case scenario’ and future solutions. Jordan, itself one of the world’s most water scarce countries, exemplifies the challenges that will increasingly face us all.”

The Water and Development Congress held in Jordan (October 18-22) will be agenda-setting, bridging the gap between the science and practice of water management, and connecting it with industry, financial institutions and policy makers. It includes the 1st West Asia and North Africa Water Summit, a platform for regional water cooperation, and sets in motion the innovations and practical solutions to achieve the 2030 water vision for the region.

The Middle East and North Africa is home to 14 of the world’s most water stressed countries, most of which share water resources with one or more of their neighbours. With water scarcity expected to intensify over the next 25 years, water could be the spark that incites more conflict in a region already beset by a serious humanitarian crisis unfolding in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Libya. The Summit and Congress both aim to further cooperation and to find practical and sustainable water management solutions to ease tensions created by water scarcity.

“The Sustainable Development Goals, which include targets to ensure the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all, present an opportunity to progress the unfinished agenda on water and sanitation,” Dr. Bergkamp said. “However, as the West Asia and North Africa region clearly shows, the SDGs don’t cater for national and local needs, or go far enough if we are to avoid the worst impacts of water scarcity.

“The resilient water supplies of the future, and promoting cooperation rather conflict over water, will only be achieved if we surpass the SDG targets. The Water and Development Congress aims to be an important stepping stone towards that goal.”

For further information on the IWA World Water Congress please contact:


Paul Bell on Tel. +31 6 4660 7771, email paul.bell@iwahq.org


Cathy Bartley on Tel. +44 7 958 561671, email cathy.bartley@bartley-robbs.co.uk


Water underpins every aspect of human and environmental existence. The severe water challenges facing the world today require an unprecedented global response. IWA members and staff are situated in more than 140 countries worldwide, forming the large... Read full biography