Africa Water, Sanitation & Hygiene Africa Water, Sanitation Jan -Feb 2014 Vol.10 No1 - Page 32

2015 Water Initiative Water scarcity is recognized as one of the most tangible and fastestgrowing social, political and economic challenges we face today. To meet economic growth aspirations, our global demand for water is projected to exceed available supply by 40% by the year 2030, exposing a very real risk of potential disruptions to business operations, and their supply chains. The World Economic Forum Water Initiative engages a leading group of Forum Partners, progressive development agencies, civil society, international organizations, and it’s Global Agenda Council on Water to transform the water security agenda through public-private cooperation. Drawing on this global network of “Strategic Water Partners”, the Water Initiative has contributed new insight, and mobilized new actors to deliver a new model of collaboration called the 2030 Water Resources Group (2030 WRG). The Water Initiative continues to enhance cooperation through structured multistakeholder dialogue, and interaction with global and national policy-makers to demonstrate the benefits of sustainable water resources management to long-term economic growth opportunities. Objectives The Water Initiative strives to demonstrate the potential of public-private cooperation in addressing the global water challenge, by leveraging the networks, and platforms of the Forum, and focuses its public-private expertise across three key areas: 1. Building and deepening engagement with private sector companies in 2030 WRG activities - the Forum’s Water Initiative continues to be identified as a key partner of the 2030 WRG, and interlocutor to private sector companies. 2. Strengthening how water is positioned and linked to other Forum initiatives 32 and projects to ensure alignment, coordination, synergies, and sharing of best practices and lessons learned. 3. Continuing raising awareness and advancing the water issue, while identifying potential new areas in the water agenda where the Forum could support through public-private cooperation. Water now presents highest risk to world According to the nearly 900 experts that took part in the World Economic Forum’s Global Risk Perception Survey, a future water crisis would have the most damaging consequences. The respondents also found that a water crisis is closely linked to several other risks; obviously to food, extreme weather events and failure of climate-change adaptation, but also to inter-state conflict, profound social instability and failure of urban planning. “The picture painted by the Global Risk report should be a very sobering one. The water challenges confronting us are indeed tremendous”, says Torgny Holmgren, Executive Director of SIWI. That water is a key concern for future generations is made clear by the fact that among respondents aged below 30, a water crisis is by far the most worrying. Unfortunately, water crisis is among the risks where the least progress has been made over the past ten years. But Torgny Holmgren says that while the survey offers some stark messages, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. “The world is waking up, and here at SIWI we learn every day about new approaches and initiatives that aid the struggle for a world where water is managed wisely and responsibly. I hope that this clarion call is heard across the world, in cabinets, company board rooms and in the negotiations on the Sustainable Development Goals”.