World Water Week 2018: Engaging the Private Sector in SDG 6

Last week, Aidenvironment attended the World Water Week conference in Stockholm, Sweden. The theme of this year’s World Water Week – Water, Ecosystems and Human Development – placed emphasis on the need for new approaches to development and planning in the context of climate change. As the world will be dealing with increased water variability and stressed ecosystems, more resilient and resourceful societies are required.

In our view an important pathway towards this objective is establishing the value of water, but equally important is to lay bare the risks related to water scarcity where it concerns global production methods.  In the sessions, the SDGs were mentioned as the framework guiding the way forward where it concerns sustainable water management. At the same time, the SDG financing gap was highlighted more than often, with the private sector as the stakeholder group that should be the one filling it. Several examples of great and groundbreaking work on building PPP’s in the area of nature-based solutions were provided. Presentations from among others the Nature Conservancy, Deltares and World Resources Institute showed clearly how investing in water interventions has the potential of generating revenue in a sustainable manner. Surprisingly, water scarcity as a risk to global production received very limited attention as well as THE biggest water consuming sector on the globe: agriculture.

Within the Chain Reaction Research (CRR) consortium, Aidenvironment and partners developed a risk language that links deforestation to financial risks. CRR reports have proven to be highly effective in driving investors of agro-food companies to use their financial leverage to stimulate business to adopt no deforestation policies. A similar language needs to be developed in the area of water, since the most effective way to get the private sector moving is to not only point out the gains of investment but also the short and long-term risks of not doing so. Aidenvironment is exploring this theme further. In the next months, we will publish a report on the negative impact of deforestation in the Brazilian Cerrado by soy producers on water availability for their productive needs.

For more information, please contact Nienke.