IWRA Newsletter Editorial – March 2019

Gabriel Eckstein, IWRA President

It is a great privilege and honour to be joining the list of distinguished water professionals who have taken on the role as President of the International Water Resources Association (IWRA).  I thank the membership of this wonderful organization for placing their trust in my vision for the Association, and I look forward to working with the new Board members over the next three years.  I am proud to be leading such a diverse Executive Board, the most diverse in the history of the IWRA in terms of gender, age, profession and geography.  Together I know that we will help to build upon the amazing work of our past presidents, in particular my immediate predecessor, Patrick Lavarde, who was instrumental in providing strength and stability to our Association.

This is the first IWRA Update since the new Executive Board has taken up duties at the beginning of this year.  We have already held our inaugural face-to-face Board meeting in Paris in March at which we also conducted a workshop to review our mission and vision, and to develop a new action plan for the coming 1, 3 and 10 years, including setting up a number of new committees.  I want to thank all the Board members who were able to participate either directly or indirectly in that meeting and workshop at such short notice.  You all volunteer your time and resources to making this Association the success that it is, and we all greatly appreciate your contributions.  The new Board will now work to ensure that the IWRA is able to adapt to the changing world we live in and will continue to be a strong voice and key advocate for better water resource management around the world.  Moreover, we will maintain our on-going priority of connecting experts and institutions globally who are interested in the interface between water science and water policy.

We have a lot of work ahead of us, supported by a hardworking executive office.  Of course, we have the XVII World Water Congress in Daegu, Republic of Korea (May 11-15, 2019) to look forward to.  This Congress is co-hosted by Daegu Metropolitan City, the Korea Water Resources Association (KWRA) and the Korea Water Resources Corporation (K-water), and supported by the Korean Ministry of Environment.  The theme of this congress will be “Foundations for Global Water Security and Resilience: Knowledge, Technology and Policy”.  The International Scientific Committee (ISC) led by Gary Jones and the Korean team at EXCO have already made excellent progress and I am confident that next year’s Congress will be our best ever.  We invite you to submit your papers for oral and posters sessions, as well as proposals for session sessions and side events, for the Congress through our dedicated website.

IWRA will also be playing key roles in other international events, including: the 9th World Water Forum in March 2020 in Senegal, now that we are on the Board of Governors for the World Water Council; the Korea International Water Week (KIWW) in early September 2019; supporting sessions in Stockholm during World Water Week; and continuing and building upon our collaboration with other international organisations such as UNESCO, OECD, UN-Water, and the Asia Water Council (of which we are also on the Board), and so on.  Let’s also not forget our editorial team is also keeping incredibly busy pushing to ensure that our publications, including Water International, go from strength to strength.  Our expanded Policy Brief and Webinar series are also producing amazing content.

As the IWRA approaches its 50th anniversary in 2021, it is my aim to ensure that we continue to grow and find new and innovative ways of engaging not only with our membership but also with the broader water resources community.  Ven Te Chow and his colleagues had great vision in creating our Association back in 1971, and today the issue of water resource management is no less urgent, especially in the face of climate change, population growth and urbanization, and pollutants of emerging concern.  By working together, learning from each other and adopting new smart solutions, we can find ways to ensure that in another 50 years we will have put many of the world’s water challenges behind us.  Accordingly, I invite you all to join me, and the hundreds of members of our great Association, in our effort to overcome these challenges, and to continue moving the IWRA onwards and upwards!