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World Water Week is the annual focal point for the globe’s water issues. In 2017, World Water Week addressed the theme “water and waste: reduce and reuse”.

Over 3,200 participants from 133 countries have attended several hundred sessions, shared experiences, and discussed solutions to the world’s most critical water challenges. Despite the focus of this year was water and waste, number of presentations were addressing climate change issues. Climate-driven changes in weather patterns, leading to extended droughts and devastating floods, was recognized to exacerbate pressure on our common water resources.

Mark Watts from C40, an organization that gathers mayors of cities worldwide, told about the risks that big cities face from climate change and how water is key to mitigation and adaptation efforts. “We see that water pattern disruption is often the first sign of serious climate impacts and 70 per cent of our member cities tell us that they are already seeing the significant and negative impacts of climate change. 64 per cent of our member cities face significant risk from surface and flash floods, Watts said, adding that water must be part of the climate mitigation programmes, but also a central part of climate adaptation.

Another focus of World Water Week is the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In a filmed message to World Water Week, Amina J Mohamed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations stated: “today, strains on water are rising in all regions and climate change is aggravating the challenge. When water is unequally shared, or perceived to be, the risk of local and national conflict increases. We are even seeing in some cases the use of water as a weapon of war. The priority now is to harness national leadership and global partnership to scale up action” highlighted Amina J Mohamed. “We cannot afford to continue to do what we did yesterday and expect to see a different result tomorrow. We must be bold!” concluded Nomvula Mokonyane, Minister of Water and Sanitation in South Africa.

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Oksana Udovyk

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