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Highlights from WIS 6

Published on: 15/10/2003

Special issue of Source Bulletin no 31, September 2003 with news from the Sixth Water Information Summit, its related workshops on knowledge management and highlights from IRC's 35th anniversary.

More than 150 participants from all over the world did a great deal of networking in Delft from 9 to 17 September 2003, building a new community of practice in knowledge sharing for improved water and sanitation provision in the world.


A number of interesting follow up activities emerged from the Sixth Water Information Summit (WIS6) that concluded at IRC in Delft on 12 September 2003. The Water Portals group recommended the establishment of a working group to create a 'common water thesaurus', a common set of key words in several languages. This will be taken forward by the core group of organisations that developed WIS6, the WaterWeb consortium, IW-LEARN and IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre. More organisations have now agreed to contribute to the news service resource guide, presented by IRC as outline and discussed during the Water News Services workshop.

These were among the results of four days intensive presentations and working group sessions with 150 participants at the IRC and UNESCO - IHE building in Delft.

Highlights from keynote speakers include Sir Richard Jolly, Sam Pitroda, Dave Snowdon.

You can also read about the launch of IRC's unique book Water Stories, with 41 personal stories and 46 colour pictures, published in English, Spanish and Dutch to mark the 35th anniversary of IRC.

Mr. Boon von Ochssee, from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told participants: "IRC has played an important role over the last 35 years and we are funding IRC's knowledge sharing work and local capacity building programme for the next five years until 2006." The Dutch ministry is looking to IRC to assist it in decentralized water governance in developing countries. He also called on IRC, its partners and networks to become active partners in the discussion on financing of water and on public private partnerships.

Other presentations on the first day included:

  • Closing the knowledge gap in support of the Millennium Development Goals in the Sector, by the conference organiser and IRC's former Director, Jan Teun Visscher;
  • What are the capacities and incentives to use information, by Jasveen Jairat, SaciWATER, a regional network for capacity building in integrated water resources management affiliated with CAP-NET;
  • Learning about information needs, by Umesh Pandey, NEWAH, Nepal;
  • The value of local learning and adaptation, by Edgar Quiroga, Cinara, Colombia;
  • Building NGO capacity through information, Carolina Batanda, UWASNET, Uganda;
  • Innovative learning. by Atem Ramsundersingh (UNESCO-IHE) which included a video conference and a panel interview/discussion.

IRC also launched its "Knowledge is Power" video, in which IRC partners tell the story of collaboration and stress the importance of knowledge sharing for improved water and sanitation. The IRC celebration ended with a reception by the mayor of Delft at the City Hall and a dinner in the restaurant of our building. Even the huge cake at the end had a real bridge to close the knowledge gap.

Feedback from participants about the Summit was very positive. IRC looks back with great satisfaction on its 35th anniversary and the way it was used to organise the Summit in Europe for the first time. David Moody from the co-organiser WaterWeb Consortium was happy with the informal collaboration and networking at this event in Delft. The many new people who came make the WIS family bigger. All participants will be added to the WIS listserver and were invited to ask questions there and to stay in touch. The aim of all this is to make Let Water Information Flow happen.