Working Paper.2018

Championing the forest-water nexus

This working paper summarizes the outcomes of a meeting with 12 experts from the forest and water sectors hosted parallel to World Water Week. Except of the outcomes, this publication covers a background to the connection of forests and water, forest-water issues, and a joint statement on forest and water relationships.

The forest-water topic is a contentious one. There are few universal truths about forest-water relationships that can be applied widely for an array of ecosystems, in different regions, or across various scales. Our accepted wisdom relies on expert judgement and inference. The benefits and/or impacts of forests in relation to water can also be a matter of perspective, such as upstream/downstream, upwind/downwind and can be dependent on scale: time and spatial, including local, national, regional, etc. Seeking consensus within and between the forest and water sectors, and ultimately establishing collaboration, has proven challenging.

In August 2017, parallel to World Water Week, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) hosted a meeting with 12 experts from the forest and water sectors. The meeting aimed to establish consensus on (i) issues and messages, (ii) develop key communication messages and strategies; and, (iii) develop joint activities for 2018-19 that promote the forest-water nexus. The successful meeting concluded by producing a joint statement on forests and water, as well as a list of suggested collaborative activities.