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FAO @ World Water Forum 8

Brasilia, Brasil, 18-23 March 2018

The World Water Forum is the world’s biggest water-related event and is organized by the World Water Council (WWC), an international organization that brings together all those interested in the theme of water. Its mission is “to promote awareness, build political commitment and trigger action on critical water issues at all levels, to facilitate the efficient conservation, protection, development, planning, management and use of water in all its dimensions on an environmentally sustainable basis for the benefit of all life on Earth”.

Founded in 1996 with its permanent headquarters in the French city of Marseille, the World Water Council is an international multi-stakeholder platform organization bringing together nearly 400 institutions from every horizon, from nearly 70 countries around the world. By providing a platform to encourage debates and exchanges of experience, the World Water Council aims to reach a common strategic vision on water resources and water services management amongst all stakeholders in the water community.

In the process, the Council also catalyzes initiatives and activities, whose results converge towards its flagship product, the World Water Forum. The World Water Forum contributes to the dialogue of the decision-making process on water at the global level, seeking to achieve the rational and sustainable use of this resource. Given its political, technical and institutional scope, one of the Forum’s main features is the open, democratic participation of actors drawn from different sectors, making it an event of the greatest importance on the international agenda.

The World Water Council organizes the Forum every three years together with the respective host country and city. To date, there have been seven editions of the World Water Forum, in different countries, on four different continents. In 2014, Brazil’s candidature to host the event was successful and Brasilia was selected as the host-city for the event. Accordingly, in 2018, Brazil will be hosting the 8th edition of the World Water Forum. It will be the first time the event is held in the Southern Hemisphere.

FAO will be taking the lead, and participating in, a number of High Level Panels, Special Sessions and Technical Sessions, throughout the duration of the forum. A detailed agenda of these can be found below.

Provisional agenda - FAO Led/Panellist/Presenter Events

Monday 19 March

14:30 - 16:00 
High level panel: Science-Policy dialogue: key to solve global water challenges and support decision making

The Session will focus on the political commitment concerning the key role and contribution of science to solve both present and future global water challenges. A major goal of the Session is to bring water management scientific knowledge and advances closer to public policies formulation and decision-making. In addition to sharing knowledge, there is the ambition of establishing a political commitment, through the presence of Brazilian, European and International authorities, together with Development Agencies and Scientific Community, highlighting the importance of a long term scientific, technological and innovation research support. The Session will also enable discussing the need of creating Roadmaps and action plans, able to influence political agendas of different countries in aspects, such as, sanitation, access to water, monitoring and price, with a special focus on UN SDGs. The Session will be an opportunity to bring decision-makers closer to academia, and vice versa, so that responses be faster and scientifically-based, but also, publicly endorsed. At the end of the Session, a Letter of Intentions is expected to be prepared to be included in the WWF's final document on the inclusion of Science Session as a cross-disciplinary field in future event. 

16:30 - 18:00

High level panel on Water and Migration

Includes publication Launch: Water stress and human migration: a global georeferenced review of empirical research

Migration has become a global phenomenon with migratory movements occurring both within and across regions. Migration, be it due to war, conflict, poor governance, climatic extremes, or absence of natural resources or in search of a better life, has become a top priority global agenda item. Hardly a day passes without an event caused by, or causing migration, taking place. Today, all countries are affected in some way by migration – either as country of origin, transit or destination, or sometimes a combination of these, or less directly through the economic, social and political ripple effects of the phenomenon. The interaction between water and migration is one of mutual aggravation. The lack of, or lack of access to, water is sometimes a driver of migration and often a stressor of migration‘s drivers. Migration in many instances has negative implications on the availability and quality of water resources and the adequacy of water services. The event focuses on the linkages between water and migratory movements globally. It will identify the water related drivers of migration in different regions of the globe, how migration impacts on water resources and the role of migration as a climate change adaptation strategy. It will also showcase diverse migratory experiences of different countries and potential response options and best practices to improve water security and the livelihoods of rural communities, including refugees. The sessions will also identify the required interventions on the water sectors to address migration, including policy, investment, data needs and partnerships. 

16:30 - 18:00
Technical Panel Session 3.a.1 - Soil and Water Conservation Practices for Improved Food Production

Soil conservation practices in agriculture are an effective way to promote a real increase in the availability of water in watersheds. Correct soil management, soil infiltration and porosity monitoring and improvement, new cropping technologies, and efficient irrigation management can help farmers to better understand water productivity and soil health conditions. However, without the direct involvement of the farmer, the information will not be put to effective use. This session will include case studies, as well as discussions on ways to successfully introduce and implement effective tools and techniques for disseminating information and technology on improving soil and water conservation practices and availability of water in river basins. SDG Goals: 6.3, 6.4, 6.6 and 2.4 

Tuesday, 20 March

9:00 - 10:30 
Technical Panel Session 3.a.2 - Water for food processing: waste reduction, optimization and reuse

One-third of all food is wasted as it moves from field to fork. Besides the economic costs, wasted food consumes a quarter of all water used by agriculture annually, while putting pressure on land and energy resources. Thus, cutting food waste could get us closer to feeding 9 billion people by 2050. This session will explore strategies for accounting and reducing food losses in the supply chain, while integrating opportunities for water optimization and reuse in the food-processing sector as an additional approach to reduce waste. These strategies will be analyzed using tools and comparison metrics for the decision making process. SDG Goals: 12.2, 12.3, 12.4, 12.5, 12.6.

11:00 - 12:30 
High level panel on Water for Food/Agriculture

The overall goal of the initiative is to deliver an outstanding Water for Food High Level Panel for the 2018 World Water Forum in Brasilia, by combining relevant sub-topics for discussion by outstanding and knowledgeable panelists beyond the traditional “water” community. Some of the elements we envision are: • Technologies that support the increase of agricultural productivity • Efficient use of water in agriculture and food production • Managing water through the food chain: stopping food loss and food waste • Conflict resolution among multiple users of water (Urban, Industrial, Ecology, Agriculture) • Mining and use of big data, spatial information and in-field sensors for optimizing production • Verticalization of production and water use in new agricultural development areas • Water storage to improve availability for production • Financing of Infrastructure for measuring and managing surface and groundwater.

11:00 - 12:30
Technical Panel Session 3.a.3 - Floods, Droughts, Wind, Fire: Building Resilient Agricultural Systems

Changing climate will pose additional challenges to agriculture, livestock and food production systems with more frequent climatic extremes. Building resilience to these events includes a number of conservation practices as well as the use of information resources and biotechnology. The introduction of better soil and water conservation practices, the development of crop varieties resistant to drought and other stresses, the introduction of sustainable irrigation systems and the implementation of climate monitoring and early warning systems are some of the ways we can ensure food security despite uncertain climatic conditions. This session will explore some of these techniques along with infrastructure needs and information systems to improve resilience in agricultural areas. 

11:00 - 12:30
Technical Panel Session 5.a.3 - Sharing information with transparency for better and more effective decisions on management and restoration of water ecosystems

Managing and restoring ecosystems for water services demands a whole preoccupation with the population to be served with the water, with the residents nearby or in the ecosystems as well as with ecosystems themselves. Legislation, funding, sharing information with transparency in an inclusive chamber, capable of unite and consider the opinions, sometimes conflicting, of all the stakeholders involved is a way of creating empathy and accelerating important decisions. This session will bring experiences of these chambers of discussion for effective decision to preserve ecosystems for water services and biodiversity, and show the importance of sharing information to produce better decisions. 

14:30 - 16:00
High level panel on Source-to-Sea Management: Towards joint action by the freshwater and ocean communities 

Millions of tons of plastic enter the ocean from land-based sources every year. Nutrient loads from agricultural runoff and inadequate wastewater treatment continue to cause eutrophication and spread of dead zones in our coastal and marine waters. Flows of some rivers are so highly diverted that little water actually reaches the sea, robbing coastal ecosystems of the water, sediment and nutrients they need. The importance of improving fresh- and marine water quality and reducing marine litter is recognized by several goals in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Primarily, two different communities are responsible: the freshwater community with focus on SDG 6 and the Green Economy and the ocean community with focus on SDG 14 and the Blue Economy. At the moment there is little dialogue between these two communities. In June 2017, the Ocean Conference was held in UN Headquarters in New York to catalyse action on SDG 14 on marine life below water. One important outcome was the more than 400 voluntary commitments made by countries, private sector, NGOs, development agencies and others to address marine pollution from land-based sources, in response to the first target of SDG 14. The freshwater community has an important role in making sure sufficient amounts of water of good quality reaches the sea. Water management priorities reflected as targets in SDG 6 include ensuring good water and sanitation services delivery, improving water quality and water use efficiency, implementing IWRM and protecting ecosystems. Given the interconnectedness of all water-related ecosystems, it is important to design such efforts so that they benefit people and ecosystems along rivers, as well as further downstream, along the coast and at sea. 

14:30 - 16:00
Technical Panel Session 1.b.1 - How climate change affects all the different water users: The need for cross-sectoral approaches for adaptation

The session aims to promote an integrated vision through the main actors affected by climate variability and its implications on water management. A cross-sectoral approach aims to bring together the many human demands and activities depending on the management of hydrological systems under a common adaptation strategy. The session will address different levels of actions, tackling the shortcomings towards an integrated distribution of surface and underground water resources and environment towards adaptive and resilient systems. Discussions may include speakers from different sectors (national and local authorities, water utilities, business, farmers, communities, NGOs…) presenting practices and challenges they have been making and facing to deal with this new integrated paradigm. 

16:30 - 18:00
Special Session - Tackling the Nexus in the Asia Pacific Region

16:30 - 18:00

Technical Panel Session 3.b.2 - Securing water for energy through resilience to global change

Water resources are under increasing pressure due to unprecedented population growth, a changing climate, rapid urbanization, expansion of infrastructure, migration, land conversion and pollution. These global changes are impacting the flows and stores of water – from rapidly melting glaciers to the decline of groundwater due to overexploitation.  Despite the increasing threat to water resources and the resulting impact on energy production, there are innovative approaches to improve resilience including low energy systems, energy production from wastewater (biogas) and water distribution networks (microturbines), generating energy through decentralised systems including geothermal energy, as well as improving watershed management for energy generation. 

Wednesday - March 21st

11:00 - 12:30
Special Session - Global Monitoring and Reporting of SDG 6

Implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development requires an integrated approach, as the 17 goals are interlinked and, thus, interdependent. Likewise, this approach is needed within SDGs implementation to safeguard the success of the Agenda. To ensure integration and coherence towards SDG, 6 implementation, UN-Water has developed and leading a coherent and integrated monitoring approach. The UN-Water Integrated Monitoring Initiative for SDG 6 encompasses the WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation (JMP, targets 6.1 and 6.2), the UN-Water Global Analysis and Assessment of Sanitation and Drinking Water (GLAAS, targets 6a and 6b) and the Integrated Monitoring of Water and Sanitation Related SDG Targets Initiative (GEMI), which is responsible supporting the monitoring of SDG 6 targets 6.3 to 6.6. UN-Water has extended its integrated monitoring approach to include reporting by developing the SDG 6 Synthesis Report (to be launched in May 2018). As water-related issues extend beyond SDG 6, the SR SDG 6 will focus on the global status of targets and indicators as well as on an analysis of interlinkages with other goals. Furthermore, key policy messages will be included to assist policy and decision-makers to evaluate and adjust their policies and strategies. The purpose of this session is to review progress in developing an integrated approach towards monitoring SDG 6 targets, to showcase the experience from countries involved in the 2017 baseline exercise, to present preliminary analysis from the SDG6 Synthesis Report and to discuss the implications for policy making. The presentation of the UN-Water monitoring and reporting initiatives at the 8th World Water Forum will give the audience the opportunity to take stock, discuss the challenges faced and opportunities ahead, as well as the lessons learned by countries and other stakeholders for the successful implementation of SDG 6. 

11:00 - 12:30
Technical Panel Session 6.b.3 - Exploring synergies between water-related SDGs and the UNFCC Adaptation Agenda.

The session covers the North-South dialogue on innovative financing arrangements for achieving water-related targets for both 2030 Agenda and the UNFCC Adaptation Agendas in developing and emerging countries. It also handles about climate change adaptation financing, resilience and Disaster-Risk Management as well as finance of hydrological and meteorological data collection for drought/flood management. The session also includes water security financing in semi-arid regions presenting case studies. 

11:00 - 12:30
Source to Sea priorities in the different regions

This session will present experiences from different regions on how to instigate action amongst upstream actors to reduce land-based impacts on coastal and marine environments. Results of actions to improve the governance and management of territory and water to mitigate the impacts of this source to the sea will be demonstrated. 

14:30 - 16:00
Technical Panel Session 5.c.2 - Farming for ecosystem services: can farmers save rivers and still make a profit?

Agriculture is a keystone activity, modifying and altering landscapes, habitats and ecosystem functions at a large scale. Historically, the spread and intensification of agricultural activities has had effects on native biodiversity, water availability and quality, and ecological system resilience. This session will focus on policy frameworks and management tools to integrate profitable small and large-scale farming practice with ecosystems functions related to water and improved catchment management consistent with SDGs 2, 6 and 15. 

14:30 - 16:00
Technical Panel Session 4.c.1 - Reuse Technologies: Can We Handle Innovation?

Water reuse isn’t the future – it is the present. But are we ready to unleash this innovation that promises to transform our relationship with water? This session presents the technologies that can be implemented for reuse, rainwater harvesting, and desalination. Case studies will show how these innovative technologies and approaches can diversify sources of water while at the same time decreasing costs, protecting human health, and increasing resilience of communities. The session will discuss the importance of investing in human capacity and the need to integrate systems for successful reuse. 

16:30 - 18:00
Special Session - From the 7th to the 8th World Water Forum: Three years of Implementation Roadmap

16:30 - 18:00
Technical Panel Session 2.c.2 - Synergies beyond SDG 6: access to safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene for improved nutrition and public health

The beginning of the SDG era calls for joint multi-sector action, collaboration, engagement; and is a right time to demonstrate, practically, how nutrition and WASH actions can be integrated for better health outcomes. The WHO estimates that 50% of cases of child undernutrition are the result of repeated diarrhoea and intestinal infections caused by poor sanitation and hygiene conditions or lack of safe water. This session will present experiences from countries advancing on WASH, nutrition and health linkages at research, policy and implementation levels, aiming to overspread feasible ways to improve the situation. 

16:30 - 18:00
Technical Panel Session 3.d.2 - Efficient use of water as a development inductor

The waste of water in the productive processes, in the process of supplying water to the population, among other situations, increases the possibilities of water restriction for its various uses in the planet. Thus, there is a worldwide trend of supply constraints and cost increases, also influenced by climate change. Water efficiency is therefore one of the drivers of sustainable development that generates social, environmental and economic benefits. This session aims to bring experiences of water efficiency promoted by practices of management, use of technologies, reuse of water, and other examples that are being implemented by the private, social and government sectors to reduce the consumption of water and scale the sustainable development. 

16:30 - 18:00
Technical Panel Session 5.c.3 - Integrated land and water management: focus on the big picture

Effective catchment/watershed management requires complex, multi-dimensional adaptive management. Actions delivering positive outcomes in one area or sector can have unintended environmental social and economic consequences at catchment level. Similarly, policy prescriptions with narrowly defined benefits can result in wasted time, money and resources, and heightened community frustration. This session will be a workshop on managing competing pressures to achieve SDGs 2, 6, 11 and 15, using catchment management case studies. Issues will include managing tensions between cities, agriculture, conservation and development; information, communication and funding for ecosystems and water conservation; and, economic incentives and legislation. 

16:30 - 18:00
Side Event - Water Accounting (Includes FAO publication launch: Water accounting for water governance and sustainable development)

Thursday 22 March

9:00 - 10:30
Special Session - Multi-stakeholder Dialogue: Water-Energy-Food Nexus and SDGs Implementation

Building on key milestones from Stockholm (WWW 2016) and Cancun (WWC 2017) promoting WEF Nexus as a foundation for SDGs implementation, the objectives of this special session are to: 1) Share WEF Nexus lessons learned across scales and sectors toward SDGs implementation; 2) Facilitate dialogue between funding agencies, banks, academics, private sector, public sector, technology providers, entrepreneurs and civil society on the role of WEF Nexus in SDGs implementation; and 3) Discuss ways to improve policy coherence across WEF sectors and across scale. Facilitated audience engagement (45 minutes) will encourage dialogue between funding agencies, banks, academics, private/public sectors, technology providers, entrepreneurs and civil society on the role of WEF Nexus in SDGs implementation, with the goal of addressing key questions: 1. How can scientific tools, technology (in particular information, communication technology) data, and case studies contribute coherence to WEF systems / SDGs implementation? 2. What policies and incentives are needed to promote implementation of SDGs in the context of WEF systems? 3. What are some successful, cross-scale, governance and technological lessons? 4. How can we communicate the WEF systems complexities and share positive messaging, while maintaining momentum towards change for a sustainable future? 5. How do we maintain the integrity of human rights issues in the context of WEF systems solutions? 6. How can opportunities be better promoted and coordinated between cross-sectoral players, at different scales? Panel discussions will identify, for different stakeholders, opportunities associated with investment in Nexus solutions; the roles of public/private sectors, entrepreneurs and banks in their implementation, financing, and governance; and the types of interventions to be carried forward. Documentation will include: white paper summarizing discussions and conclusions; factsheets available to participants and published on line; video focused on Nexus dimensions and including farmers, global nexus chokepoints and interviews.  

9:00 - 10:30
Technical Panel Session 3.d.3 - Water-use efficiency and sustainable withdrawals: coping with water scarcity

Continued economic development leads to growing water demand through all water users with direct impact on water security. Globally, urbanization is expanding, as it is the intensification of agriculture potentially triggering water use conflicts due to the paradigm of “demand vs supply” of water. Given the “business as usual” scenario, increased over-allocation of scarce resources combined with weak governance often results in long-term water security issues and looming water crises. This session will share experiences and examples of the challenges faced by water-scarce regions and of approaches to get ahead of the curve. 

11:00 - 12:30
Special Session - WASAG - The Global Framework on Water Scarcity in Agriculture

The indicator of success on reaching SDG target sanitation is the proportion of the population using safely managed sanitation services, which means “excreta are safely disposed in-situ or transported and treated off-site”. This session will provide an opportunity to discuss sanitation chain through the stages of collection, storage, transport, treatment and recycling/reuse of faecal matter. Participants will consider innovative technological, social and economic models that can accelerate progress towards achieving safely managed sanitation services. Participants will also examine ways of sustaining these services in a global context of rapid urbanization and high population growth, especially in developing countries with limited financial resources.  

11:00 - 12:30
Technical Panel Session 3.e.3 - Universalization of Environmental Sanitation and Urban Drainage Master Plans

This session addresses the issues involved in the universalization of environmental sanitation and urban drainage master plans as guiding factors for quality of life in large and small communities. It seeks to highlight the importance of basic infrastructure for urban populations. While there are many categories of basic infrastructure (water supply networks, sewage and rainwater networks, electricity networks, street lighting, earthworks, paving and garbage collection), this session will only address aspects related to water resources and their interference in the quality of life in cities, such as water and sewage supply and treatment, urban drainage master plans, and other aspects.