The XVII World Water Congress concludes with the Daegu Declaration calling for improved cooperation for coherent responses around water issues
Especially in the post-pandemic context, the world has recognized water as a fundamental element of building resilience and long-term sustainable development. The right to water and sanitation is fundamental to the realization of all human rights.
Under the theme of the 17th Congress that tackled for the last five days the Foundations for Global Water Security and Resilience, in line with the 2030 Agenda, the 9th World Water Forum, and the 2023 UN Conference on Water, the Daegu Declaration has been adopted to underline these concerns.
The document calls for urgent need for dialogue and coordination across different disciplines and sectors to address complex water challenges. The importance of water for life and development must be reanalyzed in this regard, not only in connection with sanitation and hygiene, but with sustainable management of water resources and aquatic ecosystems.
Five themes are addressed at the Declaration as critical for achieving global water security and resilience:
1) Disseminate Nature Based Solutions, together with the mainstreaming of public policies dedicated to water resources management and biodiversity preservation.
2) Reinforce IWRM and river basin approaches, with good and shared governance, including for transboundary resources, as effective tools for peace and sustainable development.
3) Support solutions for productive and sustainable agriculture, respectful of soil health and its interdependence with water needs.
4) Improve coordination between scientists and educators in an effort to empower future generations with the right knowledge and tools.
5) Institutionalize the engagement of youth and early career professionals, through developing programs that reflect a long-term vision and commitment to include them as partners in the process.
In addition to these five overarching themes, the Daegu Declaration proposes a call for action involving:
– Political leaders to leverage and to integrate water debates in the international policy agenda
– The scientific community to advance on the interlinkage between water security and ecological security so that Water should be jointly addressed at the same level of priority as biodiversity and climate change in the international and national levels.
– Youth that should take ownership of the intergenerational responsibility to tackle current challenges and to develop cooperation projects, cross-sectoral approaches, and to contribute beyond the conventional ways.
– The 9th World Water Forum in Dakar: to embrace the importance of systems thinking and breaking down disciplinary and institutional silos as it promotes future pathways and innovative responses that ensure the sustainability and resilience of the water sector.
– The UN 2023 Water Conference to accelerate the implementation of the SDGs around water security, something that requires strong cooperation between States, especially in the context of transboundary water management, through joint institutions and operational legal instruments.
– IWRA Board, to reflect and to revise vision and strategy to better support the momentum towards improved cooperation for coherent policies and strategies.