- World Water Council
Cities are faced with critical challenges: population growth, changing consumption patterns and uncertain changes in climate variability. As a whole, these drivers jeopardize sustainable access to water and sanitation in cities and the capacity to meet the needs of an ever-growing urban population. The water challenge, however, needs to be addressed holistically as a system, and not only separately as a challenge for access to drinking water, sanitation or disaster management.
Engaging mayors and decision makers in the discussion on the role of water to guarantee the sustainability of cities is critical. Change can only occur if political will is cultivated and cities have access to sufficient resources and mechanisms guiding them in the development and implementation of sustainable water management strategies.
Moreover, in recent years, inter-governmental development agendas such as the New Urban Agenda, the Sustainable Development Goals, the Sendaï Framework or the Paris Agreement on climate have been approved by UN member states to tackle global challenges. Water underlies all of them, touching a broad spectrum of the agendas' goals and targets. However, local authorities are often unsure about how to engage in those international agreements through action at the local level. Discussions during this side-event will help to address these issues.
The World Water Forum's objective is to catalyze decision makers' action related to improving water resources management, in part by convening the next International Conference of Local and Regional Authorities for Water on the 20 and 21 of March 2018, hosted in conjunction with the 8th World Water Forum in Brasilia. This side-event will provide a foundation for the design of the collaborative outputs of the Conference of Local and Regional Authorities for Water, drawing on the essential role that local authorities will play in contributing to the achievement of existing international agreements and frameworks and demonstrating how water can help sustain a new urban future. The panel discussion during this side-event will nourished and based on an 'Implementation Guide' which speaking directly to the realities of the local and regional authorities wanting to lead on global actions. It provides an easy reading of the NUA and other frameworks such as, the Sendaï Framework and the SDGs - and identifies water focused solutions to meet targets within those agendas.
The World Water Council and its partners, I Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI), United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), Global Alliance of Water Operators (UN-Habitat/GWOPA), the Undersecretary for Federative Affairs of the Republic of Brazil (SAF), and the Brazilian National Confederation of Municipalities (CNM), have joined forces to demonstrate the importance of local authorities' roles in ensuring sustainable urban water management from a political perspective. Through an ongoing process, the partners have been working with municipalities and regions throughout the world to identify what needs to be done to help them prioritize water and sanitation at the local level in order to meet the New Urban Agenda targets.