WEF 2020 GLOBAL RISK REPORT: Water Crises

According to the World Economic Forum's 2020 Global Risk Report: there is a high impact risk from "A significant decline in the available quality and quanity of fresh water, resuliting in harmful effects on human health and/or economic activity."

IHE Delft works on research and capacity development projects, and provides teaching and professional development, on a wide range of issues related to water crises and their impact - including on water provision, water access, water management and water diplomacy. For example:

Water availability

Wim Douven, Associate Professor of Integrated River Basin Management

How does your work address the problems/the key risks?

Water Scarcity is a big problem in the Middle-East. There is not enough water, it is a very dry area and the problem is increasing. So with our local partners, we try to understand what the exact problem is. Together with them we are setting up educational and research programs, to address those challenges. So in the Middle East on water scarcity we have a number of projects with local stakeholders. If you look at these water scarcity problems: water sanitation, water education and water and agriculture for instance, then we want to find solutions for that.

How does this relate to the SDGs?

There is the SDG 6, which has everything to do with water management, on how you manage water. Water resources are very limited, so you have to carefully think about how you manage your water and the demand is increasing. It is linking very much to SDG 6, but also to SDG 17: partnerships, because we are working in partnerships. It is not just coming up with solutions, but it is with local stakeholders and partners together trying to understand the problem and coming up with solutions.

Water related conflicts 

Jenniver Sehring, Senior Lecturer in Water Governance and Diplomacy

How does your work address the problems/the key risks?

IHE Delft’s approach to water cooperation and diplomacy explicitly acknowledges the often complex problem settings that underlie competition and conflict over water. Decisions about how to share waters across borders and how to prevent, mitigate and resolve water crises are intrinsically political in nature. They are linked with different interests, power inequalities, and diverging political priorities. Through the activities in the Water Diplomacy project, IHE Delft seeks support the development of fair, strong, inclusive, effective and efficient governance arrangements and to empower committed individuals through knowledge and capacity development. We do this by strengthening capacities, in particular among (water) diplomacy practitioners and water experts in the Global South, for example through tailor-made trainings in applying relevant tools of water diplomacy; and by increasing the understanding and critical awareness, among practitioners, researchers and funders, about the mechanisms, practices and contexts that support or limit the effectiveness of water diplomacy, for example through conferences, science-policy dialogues and educational materials.

How does this relate to the SDGs?

Our activities contribute to Target 6.5 that emphasizes the importance of transboundary cooperation for integrated water resources management.

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