The working sessions of the Stockholm World Water Week are underway … so what does this mean for you, me and everyone else around the globe? Read on to hear what our man on the scene has to say about new initiatives getting off the ground …
“Day 2 of World Water Week: Stockholm, Sweden (9/6/10)”
(guest post by Alex McIntosh, founder, Ecomundi Ventures)
The luminaries of the water field took the podium today. Dr. Rita Colwell of the US was recognized as the 2010 Stockholm Water Prize winner (equivalent to the Nobel Prize for water) for her groundbreaking work on cholera. And Achim Steiner, head of the United Nations Environmental Program shared his agency’s Green Economy Initiative program focus–responding to one of the most pressing social needs today–on integrating water into the larger policy and market-based decisions made by officials at local, regional, national and global levels.
Connecting the dots is important, as the science is often a few steps ahead of the social debate, and bad policy today will have profound implications for the 9 billion humans projected for earth in 2040–and for the corporations that depend on reliable water resources for their operations.
Later in the day, the Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS), a consortium of NGO’s and institutes including Nature Conservancy, WWF, and Pacific Institute, provided an update on their efforts to develop a global water certification program. To bring this water certification program to life, the AWS is building a global non-profit through an extensive stakeholder engagement process. The non-profit will eventually include international standards for water management, a verification process, a recognizable brand, and an independent governance body. The scope of the voluntary water certification program will include the private sector (including agriculture), as well as water service providers. A “launch meeting” was just held in Brussels in June, with some 200 stakeholders addressing a series of framing questions and reviewing key principles: water quality, biodiversity, and governance.
Post-Brussels, the AWS will form a global steering committee, and facilitate the piloting of the certification program with stakeholders in each of the 7 global regions. Coca-Cola, BASF, HOLMEN Paper and other corporations are currently participating in the regional certification pilots.