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Politics and practice connect around water as a key to act on climate change

The IWA World Water Congress & Exhibition in Copenhagen hosted on 12 September a high-level summit connecting leading figures from the water sector with government and city representatives from more than 70 countries. As the largest IWA Congress to date, politicians and practitioners from all over the world discussed water as a key to deliver on climate change and the Sustainable Development Goals.
13 September 2022
Urban water management PDF

Urban Water Management

Published in the lead-up to the congress, white paper provides tangible pathways to realise the transitional potential in climate change adaptation that follows the ever-changing climate. From governance tools and meaningful partnerships to the implementation of technical installations, it encompasses a broad range of Danish cases on how to enable climate-resilient cities.

The 2022 edition in Copenhagen is the largest IWA World Water Congress to date. This year, the congress also featured a High-Level Summit for the first time, adding a political dimension that covered three topics: finance, governance, and partnerships. These are crucial elements in addressing water challenges and delivering change on the ground to improve lives and protect the environment.

The Summit, whose delivery was led by DANVA, was held in the context of the overall theme of the Congress, ‘Water for Smart Liveable Cities’.

Cities are ideally placed to contribute much-needed action both on the climate change agenda beyond COP26 and on implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The IWA Summit has provided an ideal opportunity to focus on water in advance of COP27, and of the March 2023 UN review of the Water Action Decade”, said Tom Mollenkopf, IWA President.

The Summit included Ministerial contributions from India and South Africa, and contributions from a slew of cities. Joakim Harlin, Director of the Freshwater Ecosystems Unit, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), set the tone for the Summit with a call to action. “We cannot afford to wait. The time to act is now. Policymakers must put water at the heart of action plans, and everyone has a role to play. Business as usual is not an option if we are to achieve the SDGs and climate targets. We have an opportunity to start here and now, today!

The water sector has a lot to offer to meet the global climate and sustainability goals. We have learned today that we need to work together not only in partnerships, but in transformative partnerships based on trust and transparency. This must be supported by governments and municipalities. The presence of the policy and decision-makers today contributed to building a common sense of urgency for action, which applies to both politicians and water specialists,” commented Carl-Emil Larsen, CEO of DANVA, who led the delivery of the Summit.

We need to approach water as a key action point for addressing climate challenges and as a key enabler for a sustainable future. The IWA High-Level Summit today is an important setting to get the conversation going. However, it is vitally important these conversations lead to practical partnerships where our collective knowledge leads to tangible actions,” added Poul Due Jensen, CEO of Grundfos.

With the upcoming COP27 and the 2023 UN Review of the Water Action Decade meetings around the corner, the messages of the High-level Summit will be gathered together and released to provide a reference point on the opportunities to connect practical options. The summit was organised by the International Water Association, the Danish Water and Wastewater Association (DANVA), the Municipality of Copenhagen, P4G and the Confederation of Danish Industry, in cooperation with the Ministry of Environment of Denmark and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark.

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