Some 3,000 leaders and experts from the world’s scientific, business, government and civic communities on Sunday kicked off the annual World Water Week in the Swedish capital Stockholm, to exchange views, experiences and shape joint solutions to global water challenges. The theme of the August 23-28 World Water Week, hosted and organized by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), is “Water for Development” and topics to be covered include climate change, food and nutrition, water and conflict, social instability and health. The theme is in tune with the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which expire this year, and which for the past 15 years had focused attention on the needs of poor nations, including boosting access to clean water and sanitation. A new set of goals called the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), to be adopted at the UN next month, will build on the MDGs for the next 15 years.
According to the UN’s children’s fun UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO), some 2.6 billion people have gained access to clean water since 1990, but more than 660 million still live without access. A UN report in March said the world faces a 40 percent shortfall in water supplies in 15 years due to urbanization, population growth and growing demand for water for food production, energy and industry.
Among the speakers at the World Water Week are Sweden’s prime minister Stefan Löfven of Sweden, Jordanian prime minister Abdullah Ensour, President Christopher Loeak of Marshall Islands, Christopher Loeak, and Rajendra Singh of India, the winner of the 2015 Stockholm Water Prize. This year, the World Water Week and its Stockholm Water Prize are both marking their 25 years.