XVIII World Water Congress organized by the International Water Resources Association (IWRA), the Ministry of Water Resources of the People's Republic of China, the General Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Planning and Design (MWR) and the Chinese National Committee of IWRA took place from September 11 to 15, 2023 in Beijing, China.
The main theme "Water for All: Harmony between Humans and Nature" underlines the fact that harmonious coexistence between man and nature can hardly be separated from water. Water is essential to life, so it is necessary for human beings to develop, use, protect and manage our precious water resources in a more rational and efficient way.
INBO organized its own three special sessions there:
- Shared and Innovative Water Information Systems for an Improved Water Resources Management at National and Basin Level
Overall, the session focused on an inclusive and sustainable information system that can adapt to the environment, involve relevant stakeholders and support the collection and dissemination of data.
It recognised the importance of producing, validating, standardising and exchanging information for planning and monitoring by decision-makers. The acquisition of river flow is the key to monitoring and assessing the safety of the water system in lake basins. For example, France has a well-established national water information service, responsible for publishing guidelines, common specifications and overall water consistency. The introduction of a triangulation approach is essential, integrating in situ data, remote sensing data and modelling data to fill the gaps in water quality data collection.
The International Network of Basin Organizations (INBO) has announced the launch of a basin twinning programme with the aim of developing best practice by focusing on capacity building within the basin organizations themselves. Part of this involves developing the water information system, as there is a need to improve the monitoring network, stakeholder engagement, the integration of multiple data sources through interoperability and
- 30 Years of Water management in Basins of rivers, lakes and aquifers to mark the publication of a special issue of Water International review in 2024.
This session takes up the theme of the special issue of Water International planned for the 10th World Water Forum in Bali (May 2024). Its editorial board is made up of IWRA, INBO and experts in water research and academia.
La Integrated water resources management (IWRM) in transboundary river, lake and aquifer basins is very important for maintaining the sustainable development of the basin or region. This special session therefore focused on the last 30 years of basin management, and tried to propose a way or solution to cooperate with different basins, different regions and different countries. IWRM in the international context was presented by Ms Raya Stephan, and examples of effective transboundary water management in various basins, such as the Nile Basin, the Senegal River Basin and China, were discussed. Mr. Ximing Cai felt that the basin approach to dealing with changes and challenges is like an orchestra, and used the Nile project as an example to describe the institutional development of basin management. Mr Laurent-Charles Tremblay-Lévesque examined the extent to which regional multi-stakeholder dialogues help to advance cross-border water cooperation, and reflected on the key factors in establishing and maintaining such dialogues. Mr. Marc Abadie considered that a multi-stakeholder dialogue framework should be created to develop IWRM, and Ms. Liu Jiangxia proposed a system of indicators to assess the security of water supply in cities benefiting from China's South-North water transfer project.
- Nature-based Solutions for Water Security and Ecological Security to promote, for example, the Water & Nature Action Plan.
Water security is important for sustaining livelihoods, human well-being and socio-economic development. Water security depends on a number of elements, including natural processes, infrastructure, institutions and governance. Water insecurity is increasing, and nature-based solutions (NbS) can address some key water security challenges.The conference presented examples of best practice, implementation challenges and lessons learned for nature-based water security solutions. The aim of the session was to provide evidence and guidance on how investments in nature can address the critical and interrelated crisis of water security, biodiversity loss and climate change.
Ms. Andrea Erickson pointed to nature-based solutions in agriculture as the most profitable opportunity and presented the regenerative agriculture investment model. The example of Nairobi Water was presented as an investment model for regenerative agriculture. Dr. Qian Yu mainly presented the general situation of Rainwater Storage and Retention Areas (FSDA) and took the example of Jingjiang Flood Diversion District to finally propose a nature-based FSDA model in a creative way. Mr. Tom Panella mentioned that the inclusion of nature-based solutions in ADB investment projects has become commonplace and that there are also significant co-benefits to be gained from nature-based solutions. The Chao Lake example of an ecosystem-based management approach was presented. ADB plays a leading role with its members and partners in providing innovative investments, knowledge-based solutions, policy and strategic support and capacity building to address climate change.
INBO was represented at plenary sessions and special sessions of partners such as :
- the 3rd Global Water Security Seminar,
- the special session on 10th World Water Forum in Bali: Pathways towards "Water for Shared Prosperity",
- the special session on China-Europe Water Platform – 10 years of a partnership to be boosted,
- China special session on "Chinese Water Practises and Global Water Governance"
- the High level panel "Water Ecosystem Conservative and Restoration".