World Water Week is the next meeting place for water action
World Water Week’s Acting Director Susanne Halling Duffy will be in New York next week where the United Nations is holding the first water conference in almost 50 years. Here she answers three questions about what she thinks will come out of the conference and how World Water Week will pick up the baton.
Why is the UN 2023 Water Conference so important?
We all know how serious the water crisis is and how much is at stake at the UN 2023 Water Conference. But we also know that the real work begins afterwards. How can we solve the problems identified and deliver on the promises made? Many institutions will have made commitments to the Water Action Agenda and need to find the tools and partners to deliver on that. SIWI has also made commitments to the Water Action Agenda, and one is to offer World Water Week as an arena where people can keep track of and implement Water Action commitments.
What will you be doing in New York?
Listen! And talk. I will of course follow the discussions and try to meet as many people as possible to hear what they see needs to happen next. SIWI and World Water Week will also host a webinar on that topic at New York Water Week on Monday 20 March. I will also attend New York Water Week events to learn from people outside the official UN Conference.
It is inspiring to see how eager people are for change to happen and how many new ideas are floated ahead of the conference. Not least it is exciting to see the strong push for more collaboration, inclusion and innovation. We must build on that momentum.
“This year, many of (organizations) will have made commitments to the Water Action Agenda and want to follow up on the UN 2023 Water Conference. World Water Week is a meeting place to continue that conversation but also to solve concrete problems and start collaborations.”
Which trends do you already see?
It is interesting to see how many are starting to discover the importance of water and expect governments to take action at the UN 2023 Water Conference. One interesting example is how 31 investors, managing $1.7tn in assets, have issued an Open Letter to Governments on the Water Crisis. They see the global water crisis as a systematic financial risk that must be tackled.
In the same way, the food sector and energy producers realize how dependent they are on water and there is a new discussion about water and climate change. There is a strong movement for rethinking the management of water and for innovations in that field.
We also see more and more calls for justice and inclusion, for cooperation between different parts of the world and different groups. At a time of unprecedented challenges, we must live up to those expectations and innovative solutions will be key to meeting the SDGs by 2030.
What is the role of World Water Week in driving water action?
As the biggest annual water conference, World Water Week has a unique role to play. We gather hundreds of organizations and thousands of participants from all over the world. This year, many of them will have made commitments to the Water Action Agenda and want to follow up on the UN 2023 Water Conference. World Water Week is a meeting place to continue that conversation but also to solve concrete problems and start collaborations.
To meet that demand, World Water Week 2023 will be even more interactive than in previous years, including a new venue in Stockholm to make that easier. There will also be specific events to follow up on the UN 2023 Water Conference and the Water Action Agenda.
I really believe in creating more meeting places, between people from different countries, professions, generations, and sectors. This year it is also possible to follow World Water Week online for free, thanks to the generosity of our partners and co-convenors. We must remain united, as a global community for water, beyond the UN 2023 Water Conference. I really think World Water Week can play an important role in making that happen.
Do you want to meet Susanne?
She wants to hear your views on the next steps after the UN 2023 Water Conference. If you’re in New York for the UN conference, maybe you can grab a cup of coffee, otherwise you can book time for a chat by sending her an email.Contact Susanne