27 August 2017: The international community is considering issues related to clean water and water waste as the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) commences World Water Week 2017. The Week, which runs from 27 August to 1 September 2017, is convening under the theme, ‘water and waste: reduce and reuse,’ and will host hundreds of events focused on topics such as the implementation and monitoring of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), sanitation and health linked to wastewater, financing, integrated urban water management, and water in conflict and fragile states.

Presenting the thematic scope of the Week in its programme, SIWI highlights how the theme links to the ambitious targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, particularly SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation) target 3 to, “by 2030, improve water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping and minimizing release of hazardous chemicals and materials, halving the proportion of untreated wastewater and substantially increasing recycling and safe reuse globally,” and SDG 12 (responsible consumption and production) target 5 to, “by 2030, substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse.” Other topics to be addressed in-depth during the week include: water and climate; water as a connector between the SDGs and the Paris Agreement; drinking water and sanitation; water security; water and food/nutrition; innovative financing and green bonds; water cooperation; water integrity; the pricing and valuation of water; water and migration; pharmaceuticals and water; and water and faith.

The Week’s opening plenary, held on Monday, 28 August, discussed “how water, wastewater and waste challenges – and solutions, are often found through science, innovative technology and novel finance models.” The plenary featured a lecture from Christer Fuglesang, an astronaut and Member of the Sweden’s Royal Academy of Science, as well as the President of the UN General Assembly, Peter Thomson, who discussed ‘freshwater to sea, the resilience of oceans,’ and called the world’s climate and water resources the “fundament of our existence.” He said that without proper stewardship of that fundament, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development would go nowhere.

The opening plenary also heard from the 2017 Stockholm Water Prize Laureate, Stephen McCaffrey; Kevin Rudd, Former Prime Minister of Australia and Chair of Sanitation and Water for All; Karolina Skog, Minister of Environment, Sweden; and Karin Wanngård, Mayor of Stockholm, Sweden.

World Water Week is organized by SIWI with the key collaborating partners of CAF-Development Bank of Latin America, the International Water Association (IWA) and the International Water Management Institute (IWMI). The meeting is expected to draw 3,000 participants representing governments, the private sector, multilateral organizations, civil society and academia. Prior to the Week this year, the UN-Water annual World Water Development Report titled, ‘Wastewater: The Untapped Resource,’ and World Water Day (17 March) also focused on the topic of waste water. The report, as well as the theme for next year’s World Water Day will be discussed during the Week. [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on World Water Day 2017] [World Water Week Press Release in Advance of the meeting, 25 August] [World Water Week Press Release on Meeting Opening, 28 August 2017] [UNGA Press Release on Thomson’s Participation] [UNGA Press Release on Thomson’s Remarks] [UN Press Release]