2015 UN-Water Annual International Zaragoza Conference, “Water and Sustainable Development: From Vision to Action”
The UN-Water Annual Zaragoza Conferences serve UN-Water to prepare for World Water Day. This year’s conference is part of the road map for World Water Day 2015, which will focus on "water and sustainable development”.
This conference will be held from 15 to 17 January in Zaragoza, Spain, bringing together more than 300 participants from United Nations Agencies and programmes, experts and the academia, representatives of the business community, governmental and non-governmental organizations.
The post-2015 international agenda for water will be decided in 2015, by the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The UN-Water International Zaragoza Conference will focus on how to bring the agenda into action to prepare the World Water Day and to initiate the post-2015 agenda on water and sanitation. The Conference will focus on a practical examination of what the necessary transformations are and how institutional change, technology, capacity development and financing can help develop appropriate joint responses. It will draw from practical experience of Member States and stakeholder groups through the collection of a series of tools and cases.
UNESCO, as the lead UN agency with the mandate on education, sciences, and culture, is contributing to this important UN-water event as Convener of Academia stakeholder sessions.
Science has an important role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by deploying sustainable solutions and appropriate technologies. It has already laid to solid foundation for the achievement of water-related MDG targets. Science, capacity building and education also help to reduce inequalities and poverty by bequeathing the conditions and generating the opportunities for sustainable lives.
The objectives of the Academia Sessions are: providing scientifically-sound advice on existing knowledge to support the implementation of the SDG targets on water and sanitation; highlighting some key challenges, existing discussions and tools being considered in the context of the SDGs and how to move forward with their implementation; discussing and presenting some innovative approaches and tools to deal with the challenges of the implementation of the SDG targets on water and sanitation; and discussing the views of the academia about the role of other stakeholders.
The Academia stakeholder sessions focus on four main topics that include water, sanitation and hygiene implementation, water resources management, water quality, and risk management:
- Water Quality: Risk Assessments as a tool to improve water quality, focusing on how to improve the quality of world water resources, with a specific emphasis on a quantitative microbial risk assessment (QMRA) framework approach through microbial source tracking and pathogen specific diagnostic testing tools to identify sources and specific hazards, as well as to implement target monitoring.
- Risk Management: Integrative and adaptive risk governance, management and monitoring for the SDGs, dealing with the main challenges related to water-related disasters and their consequences for people and economy, in particular for the poor and vulnerable. It will focus on the need for action related to dealing with risks in the context of the implementation of the SDGs.
- Water Resources Management: Tools for water resources management for a changing context, looking at the tools and measures to deal with water scarcity, specifically for substantially increasing water-use efficiency across all sectors and ensure sustainable withdrawals and supply of freshwater, and implementing integrated water resources management at all levels, including through transboundary cooperation, as appropriate.
- Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH): Tools for WASH implementation from an equity lens, focusing on the role of monitoring to drive, evaluate and promote change policy and outcomes in WASH and will discuss what is needed to improve financing, governance, capacity development and technology for monitoring to really drive implementation of the SDG targets on water, sanitation and hygiene.
UNESCO is convening these sessions in cooperation with universities and research institutions such as Michigan State University (USA), University of Osnabruck (Germany) and University of Middlesex (UK), and with other UN agencies like UNICEF. The Academic Sessions bring together around 25 experts and researchers coming from Africa, Asia, Europe and North America.
Ms. Blanca Jimenez Cisneros, Director of the Division of Water Sciences of UNESCO, will chair the opening plenary of the Conference.
Ms. Sarantuyaa Zandaryaa, Programme Specialist in the Division of Water Sciences of UNESCO, will lead and convene the Academia Sessions.