IWRA Update – March 2024 – Editorial

As we celebrate World Water Day this year, under the compelling theme “Water for Peace,” we are reminded of water’s intrinsic value as a fundamental pillar for peace and cooperation.  This theme, emphasised by the United Nations, underscores the pivotal role that water management plays in fostering harmony, preventing conflicts, and enhancing collaboration among communities and nations.

In this spirit, the International Water Resources Association (IWRA) continues its dedicated efforts towards sustainable water management and the promotion of global water security, working at that interface between water science and water policy. We are keenly aware that water scarcity, pollution, and inequitable access can exacerbate tensions and disputes.  Yet, with concerted efforts and cooperation using non-political knowledge sharing platforms such as ours, water can indeed become a force for peace and collective well-being.

Our upcoming Islands Water Congress, hosted by the Faroese Geological Survey (Jarðfeingi), stands as a testament to our commitment to addressing critical water challenges.  The Congress will highlight innovative solutions for freshwater management in island contexts, drawing on the rich experiences and insights from diverse island communities around the world.  With over 100 proposal submissions, this unique congress will bring together a diverse range of participants, including experts, policymakers, and practitioners from various islands and countries worldwide.  Our vision is to address the pressing freshwater challenges exacerbated by climate change, requiring bespoke island responses. The Congress will feature an array of sessions focused on Administration, Collaboration, and Innovation within the realm of freshwater management. We are committed to ensuring the success of this congress, not only as a platform for knowledge exchange but also as a celebration of island cultures and the spirit of collaboration that defines our work at IWRA.

Participation in global fora has been instrumental in broadening our understanding and fostering international dialogue on water issues. These platforms provide invaluable opportunities to engage with a wide array of stakeholders, from government officials to experts and practitioners, enabling us to collectively chart a path towards sustainable water management.

My participation in the Baku Water Week in March was a profoundly enriching experience, and I thank our hosts, the Azerbaijan State Water Resources Agency, for including IWRA.  Global leaders and experts delved into discussions that spanned a range of water-related issues, underlining the urgency and the collaborative effort required to tackle these challenges.

The upcoming 10th World Water Forum in Bali, scheduled for 18-24 May 2024, also represents a monumental opportunity for the global water community.  Under the theme “Water for Shared Prosperity,” this Forum will serve as a confluence of ideas and solutions aimed at advancing our shared goals in water management and sustainability. We encourage our members to keep us updated on how you will actively participate and contribute to this pivotal event.

As we reflect on the theme of Water for Peace, let us renew our commitment to leveraging water as a catalyst for peace and stability. I encourage each of you to engage with IWRA’s initiatives and to participate actively in global forums that champion water’s role in building a more peaceful and prosperous world.

Remember, IWRA Gold Members receive special discounts and other benefits when attending our congresses, facilitating your active participation in these critical dialogues.  I look forward to seeing many of you at our events, united in our shared mission to safeguard and wisely manage our most precious resource.

Together, let’s continue to make strides towards a water-secure future, where water stands as a beacon of peace and cooperation.

Callum Clench
Executive Director, IWRA