Korea World Water Week (KIWW) is an annual event that gathers water enthusiasts and stakeholders across the globe to fulfill its respective objective of conserving water. KIWW 2019 was an initiative to address its underlying theme, Sustainable Water Management for Humans and Nature, and to derive an action plan for World Water Forum 9.
Three days, twenty sessions, one Water Challenge, and a team of 7 reporters including me were covering all the significant sessions of KIWW 2019. Opening Day of KIWW 2019 was addressed by Significant Guests including President of World Water Council Loic Fauchon who shared, ‘The Crisis in our world is not only political, diplomatic but also environmental and climatic. Our individual responsibility is to aim water security and establishing a balance between water for today and water for tomorrow. Water must be valued, maintained, and restored.” Day 1 of the KIWW 2019 focused significantly on World Water Partnerships and Water Leader’s Roundtable.
World Water Partnerships (WWP)
The WWP Goals listed an action plan to be considered for the 9th WWF in Dakar for which various suggestions were given by the representatives of various countries.
France Representation: To focus on transboundary water management
Brazil: Inclusion of population in WWF9 like World Water Forum 8 held in Brazil
Senegal: To focus on four major themes: water security, water cooperation, water for rural development, means and tools
Japan: To consider water security & sanitation and integrated resources management
Korea – Important to consider motives beyond World Water Forum 9, and to capture ideas to form a focal point for continuity in the goals of WWP
Water Leader’s Roundtable (WLRT)
WLRT discussed on six major agendas and encouraged implementation of these:
1) Need for water education
2) Collaboration of safe water cities across the globe
3) Need for action on the ground
4) Improve water efficiency between urban and rural
5) Climate change and flood management
6) In need of water infrastructure across cities
TIP’s- Technology, Information, Policy Platform
Day 2 and Day 3 of KIWW 2019 were all about ideas and contributions. A series of TIP Platforms were conducted in different rooms. The corridor was filled with the hustling and bustling of delegates running from room number 303 to 321 in a gap of 1 minute to attend the next TIP.
These platforms were intense sessions that involved brainstorming and debate among all participants. The audience and youth reporters were also asked to pitch in their suggestions or to question the respective ideas.
Speakers, their presentations, Panels and then repeat!
A series of 7 TIP’s were conducted by leading water stakeholders like International Water Resource Association, K Water, World Wide Fund Indonesia, UNESCO, UNOSD, etc. to name few.
Two TIP’s that I really struck my interest in were:
TIP ON Water Quality
The session addressed the importance of safe and clean drinking water and the challenges of quality of water in developing countries. It also discussed the emerging pollutants and inadequate treatment of wastewater existing in few parts of the world.
To embark on the session, a keynote introduction was given by Program Director of Korea Water Forum Yoonjin Kim who addressed the four dimensions and challenges of water security.
The second part of the seminar was dedicated to understanding the different measures countries are adopting to tackle this problem. This set up a basis for a discussion panel where the participating members explored their area of interest. Dongil Seo from Chunghnam University shared three major steps to revolutionize the water industry.
To give a varied view on the subject, Bareerah Fatima from Pakistan shared,
‘Awareness is the sole key here. The roadmap for achieving water security is by settling realistic aspirations and through fair journalism. In Pakistan, journalism has played an important role in reaching out to rural areas and getting the technology across. Journalists in the world can become powerful tools through this knowledge sharing.’
She also said countries need to stress on capacity building of provincial government departments for implementation and development to improve service delivery. It is important to bring this thought in the mind of people that tap water is not a free commodity. Pakistan as a developing country has given women a strong platform to take up the leadership role for equity and to set a social message across regions.
TIP on Water Cooperation
The session addressed the importance of water cooperation in the process of the 9th World Water Forum and to strengthen water diplomacy in transboundary basins.
To embark on the session, a keynote speech was given by the president of the National Preparatory Committee of 9th World Water Forum Dr.Sene Abdoulaye who addressed the importance of water cooperation across regions, and its roadmap towards WWF9.
The second part of the seminar was dedicated to the multi-governance aspect of the transboundary aspect of waters. Dr.Shahbaz Khan, Director of Asia Pacific Regional Bureau for Science in Asia and Pacific, UNESCO presented different tools and development changes in the Asia Pacific region that can be surpassed through cooperation.
The Session Concluded by highlighting two major challenges for water cooperation: A) data and knowledge sharing risks, and B) political intervention.
With this conclusion, Mr. Patrick Lavarde, ISC Co-chair, 9th World Water shared, ‘The Panel was successful in sharing their views on Co operation and in addition to the sectoral cooperation; every scientific and technical effort should require support from top decision-makers and stakeholders of the society.’
In addition to the program and all the learning on water conservation that I gathered, interestingly I also took a new culture back home to India. Visiting South Korea, and being a tourist at Daegu along with learning the skill of eating with chopsticks, I mastered it all in my 5-day visit to Korea. Next time you are in Daegu, get in an extra bag because those cosmetics and face masks would be very isolated without your company!
Save Water is Safe Water!