Water Governance Conference Highlights Central Role of Water in Development

Global Water Forum7 November 2012: The International Conference on Fresh Water Governance for Sustainable Development, held in Central Drakensburg, South Africa, from 5-7 November 2012, highlighted the central role of water in development and called for improved integrity and accountability in water governance.

The conference, organized by South Africa's Water Research Commission (WRC) and Department of Water Affairs together with the Global Water Partnership (GWP) and others, discussed issues including public-sector accountability, gender-sensitive approaches in water management, and transboundary water governance, among others.

In an opening address, Barbara Schreiner, WRC Board Chair, called on water specialists to engage with other sectors to place water at the center of the development agenda. Other presentations addressed water issues in the mining industry, hygiene and sanitation in relation to child survival, and the experience of water user associations, among many other topics. The program also included discussion of water management experiences in Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Australia. Håkan Tropp, Director, UN Development Programme (UNDP) Water Governance Facility at the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), examined the dynamics of corruption in water management and its impacts on development, noting that “water integrity” is increasingly on the development agenda.

Input to a side event on “Bridging the Gender Gap in Water Governance,” organized in partnership with the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) and the Institute for Women and Gender Studies at the University of Pretoria and Cap-Net, will feed into the Global Water Partnership (GWP) gender strategy currently being prepared. [GWP Webpage for Conference] [Presentation of Håkan Tropp]