Callum Clench, IWRA Executive Director, Editorial (June Issue 2022)

It seems hard to believe that we are already halfway through 2022. More than two years have passed since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. With increased levels of political insecurity impacting every part of the world, it is now more important than ever to keep our focus on the issues of sustainable water resource management. In addition, the effects of climate change, population growth, urbanisation, and refugee crises continue to add pressure to the natural cycles and ecosystems we depend on for our daily lives. The temptation to focus on short-term gains while ignoring the bigger picture risks everyone’s long-term futures, starting with the most vulnerable communities least able to adapt to these sudden changes.

IWRA’s excellent new Executive Board, supported by the Executive Office, remains committed to the collective mission to be the cross-disciplinary, membership-focused, international association that uses events, projects, publications, and research to facilitate and inspire dialogue, knowledge sharing, and science-based solutions for the sustainable management of water resources across all sectors, scales, and communities at the interface between science and policy. Given the state of geopolitics these days, it is also worth remembering that IWRA’s culture is driven by respect, transparency, collaboration, and equal opportunity.

We foster and value international cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary communication and working practices.

We are non-political and care most about the sustainable management of water resources to ensure that they are adequately available for present and future generations to come, as well as for the environment.

To this end, following the 9th World Water Forum in Senegal, we find we are almost halfway through the International Decade for Action “Water for Sustainable Development”, 2018-2028. IWRA joined high-level actors from across the globe who met in the beautiful city of Dushanbe, Tajikistan, in preparation for the UN 2023 Water Conference. There is also the UN Ocean Conference taking place right now in Lisbon, Portugal, where colleagues and partners are gathering to promote water management from source to sea. We have also sent colleagues this month to the 11th World Urban Forum, organised by UN-Habitat, to be held in Katowice, Poland, to highlight the importance of water management for urban centres. We are also planning to be present at World Water Week in Stockholm in August, at the Sharm el-Sheikh Climate Change Conference in November (COP 27), and at the UN-Water Summit on Groundwater at UNESCO headquarters in December this year.

We do all this to strengthen our partnerships–to offer a voice and opportunities for membership and to ensure that the critical issues surrounding water resource management are not forgotten. As we enter the northern hemisphere’s summer vacation, IWRA will continue to plan and work to ensure that we are ready for these events and more.