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September 01, 2009

World Water Week Participants Call for Attention to Water Issues at Copenhagen Climate Conference
    by Robert Kropp

Unanimously supported by 2,500 participants, the Stockholm Statement calls for inclusion of adaptive measures with broad development goals, and increased funding to support adaptive measures. -- Hosted by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), a policy institute that seeks sustainable solutions to the global water crisis, the annual World Water Week was held in August. The 2,500 participants in this year's session included representatives from scientific, business, policy, and civic sectors in 130 countries.

This year, participants of the conference unanimously supported the release of the Stoc kholm Statement, in which they stated that the issue of water must be included in the United nations Climate Change Conference (COP-15) negotiations, to be held in Copenhagen in December. The COP-15 climate treaty is intended to replace the Kyoto Protocol.

In the Statement, the World Water Week participants conveyed several messages to government leaders who will be meeting in Copenhagen. Because effective management of water resources is key to successfully responding to climate change, practices conceived by the Integrated Water Resources Management Organization (IWRM), should be considered. The IWRM is a participatory planning and implementation process for meeting water resource needs while maintaining essential ecological services. The importance of addressing trans-boundary water management issues was also emphasized.

Conference participants also emphasized the integration of adaptive measures into broader objectives. Examples of adaptive measures include the integration of water with land and forest management, and the protection and restoration of natural resources.

Finally, participants called for sharing higher-quality information at all levels of policy and practice, effective vulnerability assessments and risk management, and the allocation of additional funding to support adaptive measures.

Anders Berntell, Executive Director of SIWI, said, "Water is a fundamental element in economies, communities, and public health. We know that it is the medium through which climate change manifests its most serious effects. To be effective, climate negotiations must factor in the impact and importance of water for the world and, indeed, human well-being."

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