Addressing the opening session of the World Water Week today, Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) executive director Torgny Holmgren said that “mortgaging our future by draining water from the ground, surface and sky faster than it can be replaced by nature is untenable and unwise. It will undermine the stability and security of our entire civilisation.”

The topic of this year’s World Water Week, SIWI says cooperation between sectors is fundamental if water is to be successfully managed.

Holmgren added: “The water problem is not something that can be solved in solitary, inside the water community. We need to cooperate with actors outside the water sector, to foster collaboration between the various decision-making institutions, between the private, public and civic sectors as well as between actors who work in research, policy and practice. Only through sound and forward-looking partnerships can we achieve a water wise world”.

A report “Cooperation for a Water Wise World – Partnerships for Sustainable Development”, released by SIWI to coincide with World Water Week, includes contributions from some 25 leading thinkers in the area of water cooperation.

It covers topics such as private sector and water cooperation, climate change, water, food and energy, transboundary waters, as well as information, communication and technology and how that can contribute to better water cooperation.

Leaders at the opening have also highlighted the need to strengthen transboundary cooperation because “water does not adhere to national boundaries”, as well as the need to “build more and stronger bridges between the public and private sectors”.

Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Jan Eliasson, urged Governments, development partners and the private sector to drive action in tackling the issues surrounding water supply, in particular sanitation.

“Lack of sanitation has a direct impact on health, nutrition, education, women’s and girl’s rights and poverty reduction. I call on all concerned to do their part,” said Eliasson.

Leigh Stringer

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