Engaging social scientists & water professionals to address the SDGs

Delft International Conference on Sociohydrology

Hybrid conference

The ambitious 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agenda of the United Nations is entering its last decade but is lagging behind in meeting its targets. With just 10 years to go, it is important and urgent to mobilize the community of scientists and practitioners to explore the causes for the lack of progress and offer alternative solutions to the water crises. Prof. Margreet Zwarteveen is one of the co-organizers of the conference.

The conference will discuss and debate selected classes of questions, challenges and phenomena that participating community finds most urgent to unravel and understand in the face of the grand sustainability challenges. The conference will focus on understanding the dynamics underlying such phenomena through discussions of relevant real-world case studies from around the world, both current and historical. It will reveal how sociohydrology syncretizes with other disciplines and frameworks such as Socio-Ecological System frameworks. For example, the denial of anthropogenic causes of the worsening water crises in spite of overwhelming scientific evidence in its favour is one such global phenomenon that has yet to be studied in depth. Farmers around the world are growing high value crops in spite of the long-term risks involved (and biases and lock-ins that are hard to change), while irrigation efficiency in water scarce places is leading to dwindling ground water tables are other examples of well observed patterns that deserve our urgent attention.

The conference will be set around the water management and water governance puzzles, exploring them along three main pillars: theories and concepts (quantitative or qualitative), empirical studies including surveys and citizen science as methods for understanding feedbacks, and the validation of theories/concepts based on diverse case studies. Water (in)justice is one example of common concern to diverse disciplines that deals with uneven distribution of hydrological risk, uneven distribution of water contamination, differentiated access to water, and environmental justice.


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