Stockholm Environment Institute; Stockholm International Water Institute and Stockholm Resilience Center
(This event was webcasted live. Visit the SIWI video Hub for more veiwing and sharing options!)
The global water system is inherently complex and faces increasing dynamic and sometimes unpredictable changes linked to global-to-local economic, social and environmental changes. Increased social and biophysical resilience will need to build on enhanced understanding of biophysical and social systems undergoing rapid change. Improved societal capacity to deal with these changes need to capitalize on for example strengthened cooperation across sectors. Scientific knowledge must also be translated into practical solutions to address challenges across sectors and temporal and spatial scales.
Current approaches and solutions are ever so often confined to pre-defined sectors and places. Solutions that benefit many sectors need to be adapted to local conditions and relevant to individual sectors, but more systematic integration and collaboration between sectors, to avoid conflicting impacts and consider implications beyond the local conditions is also essential.
Similarly, by improving infrastructure local communities can overcome isolation and achieve better connection to markets and complementary livelihood opportunities. For example, resilience can be strengthened by facilitating rural-urban interactions in a region. For instance, climate driven challenges manifested through enhanced water hazards on a farming community are maybe not always best met through improved crop varieties and water-efficient irrigation. It may be better addressed through seeking cross-sectorial solutions involving for instance education, tourism or the construction sector for long term capacity.
14:00 Opening of Seminar. Dr. Mats Eriksson, SIWI
14:05 Keynote: Water Resilience and Shift in Thinking. Prof. Malin Falkenmark, SIWI and SRC, Sweden
14:20 The Role of Water Resilience for Human Development and Global Sustainability. Prof. Johan Rockström, SRC, Sweden
14:40 Building Resilience through Ecosystem Service Partnerships: Experiences from South Africa. Dr. Belinda Reyers, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, South Africa
15:00 Beyond Agriculture - Transcending Sectors for Diversified Livelihoods. Dr. Andrew Noble, WLE
15:20 Coffee Break
15:45 Re-Imagining the Rural-Urban Continuum for Increased Resilience. Dr. Dipak Gyawali, Nepal Water Conservation Foundation, Nepal
16:05 From Policy to Practice - How to Ensure and Build Resilient Societies in the Local Perspective. Mr. Nilo Lima, Ministry of Environment and Water, Bolivia
16:25 Panel Discussion.
Moderator: Johan Kuylenstierna, SEI
17:15 Summarizing Observations and Closing of Seminar. Dr. Line Gordon, SRC, Sweden
17:30 Close of Seminar
The Seminar was organised against the background that increased social-ecological resilience will need to build on enhanced understanding of biophysical and social systems undergoing rapid change. Social capacity is needed to deal with these changes and scientific knowledge must be translated into practical solutions. The seminar discussed the shift in thinking needed to achieve water resilience, addressing the issues on different scales: the global scale with planetary aspects, the regional scale with particular attention to respectively agriculture and urban-rural interactions, and the local scale in terms of adaptation of city water supply to change.
Issues pinpointed in the oral inputs to the seminar included the following:
-Noble: The importance of building sustainability into the livelihoods of two billion smallholder farmers outside the international market.
-Dipak: Co-penetration of rural/urban systems, interlinkages for increased resilience.
-Lima: The “failure to non-failure road”; how to ensure and build resilient water supply in two Latin American cities, dependent on shrinking glacier melt.
Conclusions. It will be essential to understand the challenges of living with simultaneous change of both climate, human pressure and human expectations; the water dimension of how to adapt to Earth system responses; and how to transform after regime shifts. Basic is how to secure human liveability on inhabited lands. This puts focus on well planned landscape; the role of regulating services of ecosystems, and their role in regulating water flow. Actions have to focus on two management perspectives: land stewardship with focus on partitioning of rainfall; and water stewardship to optimise water functions and to secure user tradeoffs.
On the regional scale, water, land and ecosystem interactions represent the new paradigm for sustainable intensification of agriculture. It will be important to build resilience into the livelihoods of two billion smallholder farmers, their income streams and alternative employment possibilities. Resilience can be strengthened by facilitating rural-urban interactions and cross-sectoral solutions, which may involve urban-rural interlinkages with diversified livelihoods. On the local scale, local knowledge on the own environment offers a meeting point of great value.