SIWI’s Executive Director Torgny Holmgren at the opening plenary.
Photo: ©Thomas Henrikson, SIWI


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Humanity can only tackle today’s major challenges if access to water is distributed more fairly. Speakers at the World Water Week called for a drastic shift in how water is shared and managed.

Water for Society: Including all – was the theme of this year’s World Water Week held from 25-30 August 2019 in Stockholm, Sweden. The conference was organised by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) and has been held for 29 years. A third of the 4,000 participants from 138 countries at the event, discussing water-based solutions to counter the water crisis and global warming, were under the age of 35.

In his welcoming address, SIWI’s Executive Director Torgny Holmgren stressed the importance of using water to solve global challenges. “Many in our societies are not aware of the vital role that water plays in realising prosperity, eradicating poverty and tackling the climate crisis. Together, we can change that perception and unlock the potential of water-related solutions,” Holmgren said.

Peter Eriksson, Minister for International Development Cooperation of the Government of Sweden, also advocated for better water governance and warned that with current trends, 52 per cent of the world’s population and 40 per cent of global grain production could be put at risk by 2051, adding: “Poor and marginalised populations will be disproportionately affected, which will further worsen the rising inequalities.”

Increasing investment in strong drinking-water and sanitation systems

While the international water sector met in Stockholm for its annual conference during World Water Week, the World Health Organization (WHO) and UN-Water sounded alarm for an urgent increase in investment in strong drinking-water and sanitation systems.

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