7th World Water Forum, Daegu, Korea | April 13, 2015
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 rapidly changing “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 because of increasing population, urbanization and economic growth. In turn, water sector affects developments in all the other associated sectors. Future water management thus must be seen within the context of an overall framework of accelerating changes and increasing interrelationships between the relevant development sectors, institutions and actors.
What are likely to be very different during the next 20 to 30 years will be new issues like globalization; free trade; rates of scientific advances and technological developments in areas as diverse as biomimicry, biotechnology, agriculture and desalination; information and communication revolution; demographic transitions; migration (both intra- and inter-country), health issues, 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 complex issues like climate change. All these and other related factors will affect future water management through numerous pathways, some direct but others indirect, some known but others unknown, some measurable but others intangible, and on many of these factors the water profession is likely to have limited or no control in the future.
Leading high-level international experts from different sectors and disciplines were specially invited to review and assess the changes that are likely to occur by 2030 and beyond, which need to be considered and addressed to adequately for an efficient and equitable water management throughout the world. In other worlds, how should water be managed in the future so that these problems and implications can be handled successfully, efficiently, equitably, and also simultaneously ensure that human and ecosystems needs for an expanding and more resource consuming global population can be met? Such a comprehensive future-oriented session has never been organized within the context of any other global water meeting.
This High Level Panel Session was sponsored by the International Water Resources Association (IWRA), Third World Centre for Water Management, Middle East Technical University (METU), and Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy of Singapore. It was co-chaired by Prof. Dogan Altinbilek (School of Civil Engineering, Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey; Vice-President, World Water Council; President, International Water Resources Association) and Prof. Asit K. Biswas (Distinguished Visiting Professor, Singapore).