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Published on: 27/08/2017

The opening plenary of Stockholm World Water Week

For the world's biggest global annual meeting focusing on water and development, 3000 participants from nearly 130 countries came to the Swedish capital to discuss topics related to this year's theme: 'water and waste: reduce and reuse'.

The President of the United Nations General Assembly, Peter Thomson, present at the opening, called the world's climate and water resources the 'fundament of our existence'. He said that 'without proper stewardship of that fundament the 2030 sustainable development agenda obviously goes nowhere. Because without the fundament we cannot exist.'

Sweden's Minister for Environment, Karolina Skog, said that sustainable water management has a profound effect on all aspects of human life, from economic growth to sustainable development and health. The mayor of Stockholm, Karin Björnsdotter Wanngård, welcomed the participants to her city, noting that Stockholm went from a city with the dirtiest waterways one hundred years ago, to the city with one of the cleanest waterways in Europe. She said water issues is 'at the heart of this city', and was therefore thrilled to once again welcome so many water experts.

Stephen McCaffrey, 2017 Stockholm Water Prize Laureate and a Professor in Water Law, spoke of the need for water cooperation and water diplomacy. He said that although the ingredients for potential water conflicts exist, such as higher population pressure, climate change, and much of the world's fresh water being shared by two or more countries, studies show that water sharing is much more likely to lead to cooperation than conflict.

World Water Week is the largest annual meeting for water and development issues, organised by Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI). The week brings together participants from governments, the private sector, multilateral organizations, civil society and academia to shape joint solutions to global water challenges.

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