World Water Week

Event Date: 
Sunday, August 26, 2018 to Friday, August 31, 2018

World Water Week is organised by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) and takes place in Stockholm, Sweden. It has been the annual focal point for the globe’s water issues since 1991. Every year, SIWI provides a platform for over 300 collaborating organisations to convene events about water and development issues. It is also an opportunity for individuals from around the globe also present their findings at the scientific seminars. World Water Week programme consists of more than 200 sessions of different formats and covering a range of subjects. During the convenor sessions, the most relevant topics on this year’s theme “Water, ecosystems and human development” will be discussed.

In the third year of implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the World Water Week 2018 focuses on the very basis of our existence: the ecosystems on which all life depends, and the critical role of water in their functions. We depend on healthy ecosystems as habitats for plant and animal life, and for services for human development and well-being.  In our development efforts we invariably affect and change our environment, but we need to do so without compromising the sustainability of vital ecosystems.  The UN focuses on “nature-based solutions” as the theme for the 2018 World Water Day and World Water Development Report. In Stockholm we align the present 2018 Thematic Scope with this, and we go further to explore the wider water, ecosystems and human development agenda.

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Paris Climate Agreement, set ambitious targets for our future development. The present Thematic Scope focuses in particular on SDG 6, target 6: “by 2020, protect and restore water-related ecosystems, including mountains, forests, wetlands, rivers, aquifers and lakes”; SDG 15, target 1: ”by 2020, ensure the conservation, restoration and sustainable use of terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems and their services, in particular forests, wetlands, mountains and drylands”; and SDG 9.1 “develop quality, reliable, sustainable and resilient infrastructure, including regional and trans-border infrastructure, to support economic development and human well-being, with a focus on affordable and equitable access for all”. While each of the SDG targets have one or more indicators through which the performance in achieving the targets is monitored, the inter-dependence between them needs to be recognized and guide integrated development. Considering the 14th global Conference of the Parties to the Biodiversity Convention in late 2018 the bio-diversity dimension of ecosystem development and management will be given special attention.

The programme for World Water Week 2018 is out now!


The IOM is organizing, together with WaterLex, the University of Geneva, the Inter-American Development Bank, the Geneva Water Hub, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), an event on "Refugees and Migrants: Promoting Ecosystem Protection and Human Rights".

The millions of migrants and refugees in transient accommodation create an environmental and a humanitarian crisis. To find long-term and sustainable solutions, we need to increase awareness of the connection between the right to a healthy environment, and its connection with the right to safe water and sanitation. These are both rights and obligations, not just of states, but also for every individual. Balancing the scientific approach with sustainable solutions is extremely challenging, as the intricacies of individual human agendas and politics often conflict with ecosystem protection and a holistic solution that considers all considerations, both human and ecological.

If we can strengthen the governance around community decision making such that all people are considered, whatever race, situation, gender, age, culture or disability, then the solutions are more likely to be both sustainable, and protective of human rights to water and sanitation. In this event, we plan to bring real case studies to light, with representative people from refugee situations, outlining the importance of inclusion and transparency in consultation processes, and how people’s rights to water and sanitation can be aligned with sustainable solutions, and can help to protect our environment as well as our people.

Day: 29 August 2018
Time: 14:00 - 15:30