120 Nations Gather for Stockholm Water Seminar

120 Nations Gather for Stockholm Water Seminar120 Nations Gather for Stockholm Water Seminar

Importance of cooperative water governance for disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation and its contribution for maintaining security and stability, were the focus of a seminar held Sunday in Stockholm in the framework of the World Water Week (WWW).

The seminar is organized by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Serbia’s 2015 OSCE Chairmanship and the Government of Switzerland, reported.

The 25th World Water Week, hosted by the Stockholm International Water Institute, runs from 23 to 28 August.

Over 3,000 participants from 120 countries, representing governments, the private sector, multilateral organizations, civil society and academia are expected to attend this year.

Speakers at the opening included the Prime Minister of Sweden Stefan Lofven, the Prime Minister of Jordan Abdullah Ensour, the President of the Marshall Islands Christopher Loeak and the director-general of the International Renewable Energy Agency Adnan Amin.

“Cooperative governance, joint decision-making and coordination among different stakeholders in a transboundary river basin have many challenges, but these are outweighed by the long-term benefits that water co-operation has for increased resilience, socio-economic development, and political stability”, said Desiree Schweitzer, deputy coordinator of OSCE economic and environmental activities, at the opening of the seminar.

  Fundamental Change

Aleksandar Nikolic, Serbia’s Interior Ministry state secretary, said: “Uneven distribution, availability and the fact that water sources cannot be renewed, require fundamental changes in water usage.  We must not jeopardize the right and the needs of future generations to do the same for themselves.”

Experts from Serbia, Moldova, Switzerland and the UN Economic Commission for Europe discussed the interlinkages between water governance, disaster risk reduction, climate change, and security based on two regional examples: transboundary water co-operation in South-Eastern Europe and the lessons learnt during the response to the floods in May 2014; and bilateral water co-operation between Ukraine and Moldova with a focus on the recent development and endorsement of a strategic framework for adapting to climate change in the Dniester basin.

The discussions highlighted the need of a deeper understanding of the synergies of water and foreign policies and elaborated the roles of different stakeholders in contributing to joint efforts for sustainable development and stability in transboundary river basins.