Increasing water security has become an imperative for economic prosperity, environmental protection and social inclusion.
Climate change, rising demands for water and increasing pollution of sources may lead to ever more insecure water resources, threatening sustainable economic development. These trends are aggravated by poor water resources management due to weak human, organisational and/or institutional capacity to address these threatening challenges.
Water management cuts across many sectors and is therefore particularly dependent on strong capacity and a solid knowledge base at all levels: the individual, the organisation, the sector and the institutional or “enabling environment”. Yet addressing all levels simultaneously is challenging and requires vision and leadership. Moreover, as the demand for provision of good quality water continues to increase, the interplay between different users, e.g. for water supply, energy and food production, becomes more important. Resilient integrated and adaptive approaches are needed to secure the availability of water resources for the various users. Equally, the success of “green growth” relies on leveraging existing capacity with innovation and strong leadership across boundaries, with new “green” skills. New implementation modalities are being created to better mobilize local knowledge. Innovative capacity development approaches are required to respond to the new challenges countries face as each strives for green growthand ‘blue sustainability’.
Development policy has evolved from financial support for technical assistance to official acknowledgement of the importance of knowledge. Capacity development now has a firm presence on the development policy agenda, including a focus on locally-driven development. Yet in practice, it has been difficult to strengthen the knowledge, capacity and interaction of the water sector across the multiple government institutions, civil society, the private sector and knowledge institutes required. This is evident from the previous Delft Symposia on Water Sector Capacity Development, culminating in an urgent call for water leaders.
In the face of rising challenges for, and mixed experiences with, water sector capacity development, the 5th Delft Symposium will address: Who is taking the lead in knowledge and capacity development across sectors, disciplines and other boundaries so it can be leveraged to become more effective and efficient?
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