The <a target="_blank" href="http://www.worldwaterweek.org/">World Water Week</a> organized every year in Sweden, by the Stockholm Water Institute (SIWI), was held from August 27 to September 1, 2017, under the theme: "Water and Waste: reduce and reuse." Over 3,250 participants from 133 countries attended the various sessions, shared experiences, and discussed solutions to the world's most critical water challenges during this year's edition.
During the closing ceremony of the 27th World Water Week, Dr. Torgny Holmgren, the Executive Director of the SIWI, announced that the African Development Bank (AfDB), Nature Conservancy and World Water Assessment Program would be the three key collaborating partners for the 2018 edition.
The AfDB and its two flagship water initiatives: the <a target="_blank" href="http://www.africanwaterfacility.org/en/">African Water Facility (AWF)</a> and the <a target="_blank" href="https://www.afdb.org/en/topics-and-sectors/initiatives-partnerships/rural-water-supply-sanitation-initiative/">Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Initiative (RWSSI)</a>, actively participated in the 2017 Edition.
A Showcase co-organized by the AfDB, African Water Facility and the African Ministers' Council on Water (AMCOW): <a target="_blank" href="https://programme.worldwaterweek.org/event/7479--an-african-response-to-agenda-2030">An African Response to Agenda 2030</a> was held on August 27. This event outlined key approaches by the three Conveners, and how they cooperate to produce an evolving and more effective approach. The <a target="_blank" href="http://www.amcow-online.org/">African Ministers' Council on Water (AMCOW)</a> also organized Africa Focus Sessions including a High-level Ministerial Panel. "At this year's Africa Focus Sessions, we will explore the implementation of new game-changing technologies, innovative institutional frameworks and well-designed business models for more effective wastewater management and improved water quality." explained Dr. Canisius Kanangire, Executive Secretary, AMCOW.
Speaking on behalf of the president of AMCOW, the Egyptian Water and Irrigation Minister, Dr. Mohamed Abdel Atty, projected that by the year 2030, global demand for water will grow by 50% and most of this demand would be in the cities. "The need for newer approaches and technologies for wastewater collection, management and reuse therefore becomes imperative... Experiences by AMCOW member states show that wastewater can be a resource for irrigation with basic treatment and proper hygiene practices; sludge can be used as a source of energy, and fertilizers. The productive use of waste water can generate income, development of micro enterprise and employment, as well as contribute to urban food and energy security. The waste water challenge can therefore be turned into opportunities for poverty alleviation." Dr. Atty says.
A seminar organized by AWF and the Global Water Partnership highlighted the benefits of Integrated Urban Water Management. Under implementation in six African countries for a total amount of € 9.5 million, this program will be extended to six other countries. AWF and GWP intend to initiate a campaign of mobilization of resources to fill the financing gap of 15 million euros necessary for extending the program's reach. The Ministry of Mines, Energy and Water of the Central African Republic, expressed his interest to develop an Urban Sanitation project in his country, based on an innovative business model involving the private sector.
At the exhibit booth, hosted by the African Development Bank, AMCOW, the African Water Facility (AWF) and the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Initiative (RWSSI), entrepreneurs, policy makers, investors, and future decision-makers gathered, discussed and identified new ways to increase the focus on water and sanitation, and how to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 6 (Sustainable water and sanitation for all by 2030).
In the aftermath of the 2017 World Water Week, it is timely to reflect on both opportunities and challenges relating to this year's theme of resource recovery and reuse: Africa has begun to fully appreciate the real opportunity that is emerging in the sanitation sector. These include identifying new streams of income across the wastewater cycle and in new approaches to fecal sludge management that will, in turn, provide the resources to support better management and expand access in urban, peri-urban and rural areas.
Understanding the value of water will be key to its more efficient use and to the implementation of the global development agenda.
The 2018 World Water Day theme will be: "Nature-based Solutions for Water". Nature-based solutions are actions or interventions that use or mimic nature to address water and sanitation issues. These can range from the development of constructed wetlands though to active watershed management to improve the quality and quantity of freshwater. These types of approaches can help to protect the environment but also provide numerous economic and social benefits. Africa has a wealth of natural resources, including biodiversity and ecosystem services, that can be called upon to help address water management issues, beyond applying technology or building so-called "grey" infrastructure. The World Water Day 2018 is intended to demonstrate their huge potential.
The thematic scope of the 2018 Stockholm World Water Week will explore the wider Water, Ecosystems and Human Development agenda; and the need to safeguard the sustainability of vital ecosystems as habitats for plant and animal life, and as resources for services for human development and well-being.
As key collaborating partner for the 2018 edition, the Bank will advise and facilitate on the content and overall set-up of the event and will be represented on the Scientific Program Committee (SPC) from September 2017 to September 2018. The mandate of the SPC is to work with SIWI to ensure the scientific quality and relevance of the World Water Week, including the development of the World Water Week's scientific components. The Bank will also, in close collaboration with SIWI and the Scientific Programme Committee, develop the seminar programme, identify keynote speakers as well as report and follow up after the conference.
About World Water Week: Hosted and organized by the <a target="_blank" href="http://www.siwi.org/">Stockholm International Water Institute</a> (SIWI), the <a target="_blank" href="http://www.worldwaterweek.org/">World Water Week</a> (WWW) is the largest global event for water and development issues. Every year, government representatives, water experts, and private sector leaders meet to discuss and advance the water agenda. In 2018, the theme will be "Water, Ecosystems and Human Development".