“Without reliable access to water, almost no Sustainable Development Goal will be achieved. To make that happen, we must ensure water’s centrality to the entire Agenda 2030. This will show the power water has a connector.”
Those were the words Torgny Holmgren, Executive Director of the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), on Monday in Stockholm, Sweden while formally opening opening the 2016 World Water Week (WWW), which is the 26th in the series.
According to him, Water connects not only sectors, but also nations, communities and different actors.
Water can be the unifying power, the enabler for progress in both Agenda 2030 and the Paris climate agreement,” said Holmgren.
Themed: “Water for Sustainable Growth”, the 2016 WWW is gathering some 3,000 people from over 120 countries in the bustling Swedish capital city.
With water crises being listed as one of the top global risks in the coming years by the World Economic Forum, and a rapidly growing world population putting pressure on scarce water resources, seeking solutions to the world’s many complex water challenges is becoming ever more urgent for the researchers, policy-makers, and representatives of civil society and the private sector meeting in Stockholm.
Addressing the opening session, Sweden’s Foreign Minister, Margot Wallström, reinforced the message that water is a connector and an enabler in realising the SDGs.
“Successful realisation of Goal 6 of the 2030 Agenda will underpin progress across many of the other goals, particularly on nutrition, child health, education, gender equality, healthy cities and healthy water ecosystems and oceans,” Wallström stated.
Mayor of Stockholm, Karin Wanngård, underlined the role cities need to play in realising the development agenda.
Wanngård said: “Cities represent a large portion of future growth. We have the job growth, the universities, the creative ideas. We also face the biggest emissions, the social problems, and housing shortage.
“Our participation in the struggle for sustainable solutions is key for global success. And that means a growing responsibility, a moral responsibility towards future generations and their ability to live in cities where it is possible to work, live in security, breathe the air and drink the water.”
Secretary General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Angel Gurría, said that water, from having been a subject that was rarely discussed with urgency, has come to the front and centre of international deliberations.
“Water now has the place it needs to have in international priorities,” said Gurría.