|International Water Association|
This event is about achieving sustainable development through integrating water in urban planning, it’s about “Water Security” taken as defined by the United Nations - as the capacity of a population to safeguard sustainable access to adequate quantities of acceptable quality water for sustaining livelihoods, human well-being, and socioeconomic development, for ensuring protection against water-borne pollution and water-related disasters, and for preserving ecosystems in a climate of peace and political stability. The New Urban Agenda represents a paradigm shift towards a new model of urbanization that can better respond to the challenges of our age. It promotes cities that are environmentally sustainable and resilient; socially inclusive; safe; economically productive; and better connected to and contributing towards sustained rural transformation. Water – both as a threat and an opportunity - is a key part of this process and is a great entry point to the transition to a new urban agenda by developing an understanding of the city, its landscape, and its natural water cycle. Water is a connector between various sectors in the city and between the city and its hinterland, thereby having an enormous network potential to achieve sustainable development of cities. Cities can no longer take current water security and services for granted. A new vision for resilient, inclusive and liveable cities is possible.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) SDG6 and SDG11, are a bold call for the promotion of sustainable urban water management. To achieve this we need to harness the power of collaboration across all levels of government, especially in cities, to ensure that no one is left behind on the path to the New Urban Agenda of 2030. IWA and its partner organizations will support the New Urban Agenda in delivering sustainable, resilient and liveable cities through collaborative and cross-cutting approaches. A critical component is that water and sanitation services be universally accessible and affordable, in particular for vulnerable populations. Integrated urban water management must address public health, minimize disaster risks, aim at prevention and uphold human rights in the urban space. In turn, this will create a secure and therefore enabling environment for investments.
IWA’s Principles for Water Wise Cities are to foster a progressive water vision amongst all urban stakeholders. The OECD Principles on Water Governance are to guide Cities in assessing theirgovernance assets and bottlenecks, enabling sustainable urban water. These two tools will be briefly presented as means to support cities in the implementation of the water-related paragraphs in the New Urban Agenda; in particular on point 119 of Zero Draft, which was proposed by the UN-Habitat/GWOPA led Expert Group Meeting on Water. This point applies to all dimensions of water, not only as a basic service, but to the disaster risk it brings (too much, too little, too polluted) and the opportunities it brings (trade, food, energy), shared in the Keynote from the Netherlands. This practical-oriented event complements the WWC event on the political impetus of water for urban development.