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Water Action Agenda takes shape in Stockholm flowing on from landmark conference

World Water Week is taking shape from Monday in Stockholm, Sweden. This is an annual gathering of thousands of organizations and individuals – Government experts, UN officials, scientists and academics – who come together to rethink how water is being managed.

Serious challenges loom

Among them is the President of the General Assembly, Csaba Kőrösi, who said at one of today’s opening panels that “our problem is that we are running to a water crisis. And unless we change direction, we will face serious, serious challenges.”

To change that direction, Mr. Kőrösi proposed five solutions, including building a water cooperation platform among all 193 UN Member States (the representatives that sit in the General Assembly), and the creation of a UN-wide water strategy, headed by a UN Special Envoy on Water.

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If these ideas sound familiar, it is because they were part of the outcome of the UN Water Conference in March 2023. World Water Week is being framed as a continuation of what was agreed in March and could be a kickstart to some of the promised commitments, the so-called Water Action Agenda.

The international community also needs to integrate water and climate policies, because most of how we experience climate change is related to water – either through flooding, droughts, or water-borne diseases, Mr. Kőrösi mentioned in today’s discussions, as well as in a conversation yesterday at the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI).

Innovative solutions

These meetings are related to the overall theme of the 2023 World Water Week, under the banner, Seeds of Change: Innovative Solutions for a Water-wise World.

As part of these discussions, the Week includes a competition for students between the ages of 15 to 20, to develop research projects that can help solve major water challenges.

The winners of the Stockholm Junior Water Prize who will be awarded on Tuesday by the event’s patron HRH Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden.

The ceremony will be held ahead of Wednesday’s awarding of the Stockholm Water Prize, which is described as the Nobel Prize of water, and coincidentally will be awarded in the same hall as the iconic Nobel Prize awards.

The Prize is awarded by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) in cooperation with the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

Two young boys carry jerry cans they have filled at a water distribution point set up by UNICEF and its partners in Bulengo camp, west of the city of Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo.
© UNICEF/UNI418288/Ndebo

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