Stockholm, Sweden, 11 Sep 2018

Looking back on Stockholm World Water Week 2018

IHE Delft looks back on a successful World Water Week, the annual focal point for the world's water issues organized by the Stockholm International Water Institute. IHE Delft co-organized 10 sessions and was present with a booth shared with UNESCO-IHP and WWAP. MSc students Anna Capdevilla and Maria Wünsch de Alvarenga and PhD Fellow Sebrian Bessely Putra actively participated in IHE Delft and Water Youth Network events. They share some of their experiences here.

This year's theme was water, ecosystems and human development. IHE Delft staff, students and partners convened several interesting sessions fitting this theme.

Find the complete programme here.

Impressions from our students

Anna San Llorente Capdevila (Spain), MSc student in the GroundWatch Erasmus Mundus programme was our roving reporter during the week. Take a look at the day-to-day impressions video she made (block on the right).

Maria Wunsch de Alvarenga (Brazil), MSc student in Sanitary Engineering: "I came to know about Stockholm World Water Week (SWWW) in a news article about the Stockholm Junior Water Prize, during my bachelor studies in Brazil. I had this picture in mind that the conference was a far reality and that I would have to win the Water Prize myself one day to be able to be there! Luckily, after talking to some friends from IHE Delft, I learned that it was possible to attend as an assistant to help organize the event and to participate in the sessions which interested me the most. After applying for it on SIWI’s website, I was approved! IHE Delft also requested support of students and I was ready to help.

"I joined the Water Youth Network shortly before the conference and had the privilege of getting to know people that would go to the conference to engage with young water leaders that want to change the water sector in an active way. Helping WYN preparing for the conference was great to prepare myself for it too and I felt so proud of being there with them, from the start until the last day.

"The activities at the SWWW can be pretty intense. I prioritized the topics that were more connected to my field of study. Different from other conferences I have been, many presenters were involved in a session from different organizations, which made the presentations always very dynamic. I have been to sessions that discussed the use of fly larvae composting as a way to achieve circular economy, about the importance of public toilets to achieve the SDGs, how sanitation can be improved in small towns. One of the most discussed themes among the sanitation topic was how to finance it and operate it in a sustainable way, which could be done changing the way sanitation is taxed and improving the sanitation business case. A guide for sanitation financing was shared and also successful cases were discussed.

It was a week full of learnings, work, and fun. I learned how to share information, how to interact with those with similar objectives as you. I enjoyed working while making new friends and having fun with amazing people in a beautiful city."

Sebrian Bessely Putra (Indonesia), PhD fellow in the Coastal systems, Engineering and Port Development group: "The sessions I found most intestesting were called 'IWRM and approaches: Complementary, duplicating or competing?' and 'The source-to-sea balancing act – development needs and ecosystem preservation'. The importance of integrating IWRM (Integrated Water Resources Management), ICZM (Integrated Coastal Zone Management) and Adaptation to Climate Change with IMF (Integrated Methodological Framework). Why is it important? Because these approaches are complementing each other and are not exclusive. These frameworks, with their accompanying tools, are sufficient to integrate issues and involve multiple stakeholders. Some case studies were showed how they can reinforce each other and generate additional benefits.

"The problem is when these approaches are applied, they could result in overlap and even competition among them. This could result in gaps and conflicts in the application. Interdisciplinary thinking, increased collaboration, and effective decision-making is needed to succesfully integrate these approaches. The importance of recognizing multiple values of water and related ecosystems, not only from a cost benefit perspective, but also from a socio-cultural perspective is what I took home from these sessions."

Alumni gathering

During the week IHE Delft staff had the opportunity to meet and greet many IHE Delft alumni from different countries who attended World Water Week 2018. On Wednesday, the traditional Alumni Gathering at the IHE Delft booth took place, giving alumni, staff partners and students the opportunity to meet, network and catch up.

Prof. Eddy Moors, IHE Delft Rector, and Ms. Maria L. Sorrentino, Alumni Officer opened the event, with a warm welcome to all attendees. The importance of the alumni community was highlighted as well as the alumni activities happening all over the world. Staff members of the Institute took the floor to introduce themselves, as well as some alumni and partners present.

A new project "Women and Water for Change in Communities" was pitched by Ms. Ellen Pfeiffer, Researcher at IHE Delft. She invited alumni to participate in the initiative to involve local youth and students in capacity development of remote communities. This initative was pitched by Ms. Brenda Simpasa of the Global Platform Zambia, a youth hub run by ActionAid, which coordinates a pilot in Zambia.   

Drinks followed accompanied with good conversations and networking.

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