The Closing Plenary of the 2013 World Water Week theme on “Water Cooperation – Building Bridges”, will summarise an intensive week of constructive dialogues, respectful disagreements and joint achievements. The conference delegates will in an engaging, interactive discussion get the first hand essence captured by the World Water Week Rapporteur teams that have followed the week at close range. They will present the latest developments, best cross-sectoral solutions and identify what’s new and what’s next for the water world and everyone whom it concerns. An additional scientific synthesis will be presented by Prof. Malin Falkenmark of SIWI, who since the inception in 1991, have provided this unique summary from the abstracts submitted to the workshops. The Scientific Programme Committee that organise the workshops of the World Water Week will present the award for Best Workshop Poster during this session.
The closing plenary will also present excellent keynote speakers that will offer insights into the Post-2015 Water Agenda, bridging to the global meetings that will be imperative for the realization of a common goal on water and sanitation. The session will of course also introduce the Water and Energy theme for 2014. As an annual congregation of the water development community the World Water Week offers the delegates a unique opportunity to work together on a document for a Stockholm Statement on Water Cooperation to be accepted at the Closing session. This in an opportunity to voice a common message to the UN General Assembly in order to express support of the formulation of a water goal in the post-2015 process. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to hear and to be heard at the World Water Week!
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The closing plenary of the 2013 World Water Week was opened by Mr. Torgny Holmgren, Executive Director of the Stockholm International Water Institute, (SIWI). During his address, Mr. Holmgren presented the final iteration of the 2013 Stockholm Statement. The statement resulted from an open consultation process before and during the conference, and calls upon the UN to establish a dedicated Sustainable Development Goal for Water. The statement outlines that the goal should include at least three achievements (by 2030): A doubling of global water productivity, a realisation of the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation and finally, increased resilience to water-related disasters. Additionally, the Stockholm Statement urges for the integration of water into all relevant areas in the post-2015 agenda, such as energy and food security.
Following Mr Homgren were dignitaries, Mr. Gábor Baranyai, Deputy State Secretary of Foreign Affairs from Hungary and Dr. Eun-Kyung Park, Korea Water Forum Ambassador for Water Resources. The speakers then presented two important upcoming events hosted in their home countries. Mr. Gábor Baranyai, outlined the scope of the 2013 Budapest Water Summit which hopes to continue shaping the presence of water in the post-2015 agenda and Dr. Eun-Kyung Park, invited the audience to the 2015 7th World Water Forum in Seoul, which will contextualise post-2015 discussion. Dr. Park also provided examples of the rich traditions of her country in water related issues.
The Special Representative of the Secretary General of UN & CEO of Sustainable Energy For All, Dr. Kandeh Yumkella, then took to the stage. He discussed the interconnection between water and energy, and the importance of the 'Nexus' for securing access to these precious resources. Using inspiring and concrete examples on why energy and water need to be dealt cooperatively, Dr. Yumkella presented current efforts for increasing energy access in the context of climate change and development. It was confirmed that this topic will be the central theme of next year’s World Water Week: 'Water and Energy - Making the Link'.
Prof. Malin Falkenmark, Senior Scientific Advisor, SIWI, then provided an astonishing synthesis of the conference, passing through most of the workshops and adding precious insights with her personal reflections. “Climate change has made us realise that water is in fact the very centre of the life support system of our planet: water is simply the bloodstream of the biosphere” Her speech was followed by a moving homage to her prolific carrier and inspiring character by Dr. Torkil Jønch Clausen, who said that in Malin ‘we have the greatest champion that ever existed on land and water’. He also reminded the audience of the important milestones of her carrier and how she is a role model to the entire community: 'Malin has been a lighthouse (…), but also a remarkable human being'. Prof. Falkenmark received a long standing ovation at the end of her homage speeches.
The World Water Week 2013 Closing plenary session then concluded with reports from the lead Rapporteur teams. Developed in close collaboration with nineteen junior rapporteurs, the lead Rapporteur reports provided an overview of all conference sessions and discussions, with a special focus on emerging trends and concrete solutions. The junior rapporteurs were praised for their effort and contribution by Dr. David Garman, who said, "If they are all as good as our team, I don’t think we have any problems in getting future leaders in the water industry". The reports spurred a great response from the audience. Some of the points discussed were; Should water be considered as a connector and not as a sector; Should groundwater issues be addressed more deeply (considering its importance to small communities, and climate change adaptation); and in addition to working for a dedicated SDG on water, integrated discussion on water must be realised in the creation of other SDGs. After the panel discussions with the lead rapporteurs were complete, Mr. Holmgren concluded Closing Plenary proceedings by celebrating the success of this year’s event and inviting the audience to the 2014 World Water Week.