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Water security

Water security

Tuesday 12 June, 16.00-18.00

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Session co-conveners:

  • Abdin Mohamed Ali Salih, Director, Division of Water Sciences and Secretary of the International Hydrological Programme (IHP), UNESCO
  • Claudia Pahl-Wostl, Co-chair of the Global Water System Project, Professor for Resources Management and Director of the Institute of Environmental Systems Research, University of Osnabrück, Germany


  • Gretchen Kalonji, Assistant Director-General for the UNESCO Science Sector
  • Rick Lawford, Senior Scientist,  Morgan State University, US
  • Ursula Oswald-Spring, Professor, Regional Multidisciplinary Research Centre (CRIM), National University of Mexico, Mexico, and Global Environmental Change and Human Health (GECHH) project
  • Kuniyoshi Takeuchi, Director, ICHARM (International Centre for Water Hazard and Risk Management), Japan
  • Abdou Ali, AGRHYMET (Centre Régional de Formation et d’Application en Agrométéorologie et Hydrologie Opérationnelle), Niger
  • Dipak Gyawali, Chairman, Nepal Water Conservation Foundation and former Minister of Water Resources, Nepal
  • Ben Braga, President of the forum committee of the 6th World Water Forum
  • Karin Lexén, Director, Swedish Water House, Stockholm International Water Institute, Sweden
  • Anil Mishra, Programme Specialist, International Hydrological Programme (IHP), UNESCO


Planet Earth is witnessing a period of tremendous and unprecedented global changes characterized by complexity and uncertainty. The challenges of climate change, population growth, economic development, and urbanization translate into dramatic alterations in fluxes, pathways and stores of water, that in many cases may be irreversible. This is occurring from the source headwater of the runoff formation zone, where glaciers may be vanishing, to the increasingly common decline of groundwater due to overexploitation.

Aim of the session

This session aims to consider how a new paradigm of adaptive management can be developed to address water security issues in a context of growing multiple needs and water scarcity. The concept of “water security” involves the sustainable use and protection of water systems, the protection against water related hazards (floods and droughts), the sustainable development of water resources and the safeguarding of (access to) water functions and services for humans and the environment. Sound governance policies based on well-grounded science is the precondition to address water challenges in today’s setting. The session will also discuss implementation of existing policies, global tools and commitments to address such global challenges. One of the primary objectives of the proposed session is to share and discuss science and policy lessons learnt with decision makers and other stakeholders. Presenters from the policy and research fields will share their perspectives and experiences in a panel discussion focussing on the science and policy developments needed to address water security issues.

Structure of the session


Chair: Gretchen Kalonji

  • Rick Lawford: Water-energy-food nexus, science and policy
  • Ursula Oswald-Spring: Governance, social transformation, science-policy interactions
  • Kuniyoshi Takeuchi: Water resources and extreme hydro hazards

Panel Discussion and Open Q&A with the Audience:

Moderator: Anil Mishra


  • Abdou Ali
  • Dipak Gyawali
  • Ben Braga
  • Karin Lexén

Photo: Pablo Tosco/Oxfam

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