Sustainable Water Management in Cities.

Sustainable Water Management in Cities: Engaging stakeholders for effective change and action. 13-17 December 2010. Zaragoza, Spain

Political engagement

Water management is simultaneously both a technical question and a fundamentally political question. While the evidence-base for decision making is vital, there are many political judgments. The political questions include how water management may be appropriately included in the wider issues of urban management and the specific questions of how decisions should be taken, the constraints on those decisions, how water should be provided, and how the costs can be covered. The specific objective of the political day was to involve local political leaders and other stakeholders in debate on the political opportunities and threats to sustainable water management in cities, and ways of overcoming problems based upon their specific experiences.

Conference messages for the day

  1. Water management in cities is a technical and, fundamentally, a political question. While a large range of technical options for achieving more sustainable water management are available, political power comes with the responsibility of paving the way for change both in the direction of new policies and the selection of innovative technologies.
  2. Politicians are expected to care for the general welfare of society; for this it is necessary to link water management to other policy areas. Considering the ubiquitous role of water in virtually all dimensions of life, this means that politicians have to discuss and negotiate water issues with all key stakeholders in society.
  3. The complexity of interests is often regarded as a hurdle to advance water management. However, this complexity is a reflection of society and the natural systems on which society is based. Taking diversity properly into account allows different needs to be met in a better way and facilitates shared responsibility for water.
  4. Urban water management can be regarded as water resources management at local level. Efficient use of water at local level contributes to achieving the goals of integrated water resources management at river basin level. Politicians therefore have to ensure that stakeholder platforms reflect interests and ecological issues at all levels.
  5. Negotiating water issues often involve conflicts and trade offs, but may not compromise equity of access and use, and the ecological quality of water resources.

Programme overview

08.15 - 09.00

Keynote address
Running Out of Water: Prospects for Cities?

By Peter Rogers, Professor, Harvard University
09.00 - 09.30 Welcome and Highlights of the Conference
09.30 - 10.30 Interview session
Strong and successful political engagement in implementing Sustainable Water Management in cities
10.30 - 11.00 Coffee break
11.00 - 12.30 Parallel sessions. Political opportunities and challenges in implementing Sustainable Water Management in cities.
Round Table with Mayors and political representatives of Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa, and Asia Stakeholders views (small groups' discussions).
Coordinated by Ewen Leborgne, Programme Manager for Africa, IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre
Working Group A | Working Group B
Working Group C | Working Group D
12.30 - 13.30 Dialogue session
Integrating views of political representatives and stakeholders on the Political Challenges in implementing SWM in cities.
Closing address
13.30 - 15.00 Lunch and informal discussions
16.00 - 18.00 Side events
Water and Development in Asia: Challenges and Good Practices for Urban Water Management in Asian Cities Co-organized by "Casa Asia" and UNW-DPAC. Bringing nature back into cities for water
Co-organized by UN-CBD, Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity and the UN-Water Decade Programme on Advocacy and Communication (UNW-DPAC).
18.30 - 20.00 Open session
Target 2015: Water to fight poverty

  Plenary room, ground floor
  Working group rooms
  Round table room, 1st floor
  Paraninfo of the University of Zaragoza, City Centre

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