Special Session on Water Management Beyond 2020 for a Rapidly Changing World

March 17, 2009 | Istanbul, Turkey

Global conditions, throughout history, have always changed. However the rates of these changes during the past 2 to 3 decades have steadily accelerated, especially when compared to the historical past. The current indications are that these rates of changes are likely to accelerate dramatically during the coming two decades which will make water management processes and practices increasingly more complex than ever before witnessed in human history. We thus need solutions for “business unusual” conditions.

Water management is an integral part of the global system. It has always been affected by the changes in other development sectors like food, energy, environment and industrialization. In turn, water sector affects developments in all these sectors. Future water management thus must be seen within the context of an overall framework on accelerating changes and increasing interrelationships between the relevant development sectors, institutions and actors.

What are likely to be very different during the next 20 years will be new issues like globalization; free trade; rates of technological advances in areas as diverse as biotechnology and desalination; information and communication revolution; demographic transitions; migration (both intra- and inter-country), HIV/AIDS, concurrent quests for food, energy and environmental security at the national and regional levels; changing development paradigms, and increasing uncertainties that will be brought about by issues like evolving societal needs and public attitudes and perceptions and also climate change. All these and other related factors will affect water management through numerous pathways, some direct but others indirect, some known but others unknown, some measurable but others intangible, and on which the water profession is likely to have limited or no control in the future.

Leading international experts from different sectors and disciplines are specially invited to review and assess the changes that are likely to occur by 2020 and beyond, which must be considered and addressed to adequately by the water profession. How should water management change in order that these future problems and implications can be handled successfully, efficiently, equitably, and also simultaneously to ensure that human and ecosystems needs for an expanding and more resource consuming global population can be met? Such a future-oriented session has never been organized within the context of not only any of the previous World Water Forums but also at any other global meeting.

This Special Session is sponsored by the Third World Centre for Water Management, Middle East Technical University (METU), International Centre for Water and Environment (CIAMA) of Zaragoza, International Water Resources Association (IWRA), State Hydraulic Works (DSI) of Turkey and Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy of Singapore.


Conference report