16.10.2013 - Natural Sciences Sector

Water without borders: utopia or reality?

© Régis L’HostisDelta du Saloum, Sénégal

The impacts of global warming, urbanization and demographic growth are threatening natural resources and ecosystem services that we depend on, in a context where international water and ocean governance still needs to be defined. The first edition of the Water and Sea Workshops, organized on 10 October in Barcelona, Spain, gathered over 300 local and international actors to reflect on the main issues that characterize water and marine ecosystem management today.

Freshwater and saltwater issues cannot be analyzed apart from another; they are parts of the same system that provides vital resources (safe water, oxygen) and ecosystem services that underpin our economy and development (balancing the climate, food production, energy, industry, transport and domestic uses).

Thus, it seems relevant that strongly interrelated topics associated with water resources preservation and marine ecosystems protection must be considered together. The key to many current challenges lies in the sustainable development and management of these ecosystems and resources.

Conceived as an inclusive, open space for dialogue and exchange, the workshop succeeded in attracting participants from diverse backgrounds with an interest in improving their practices towards a more responsible management of water and marine resource, resulting in a lively exchange of experiences and rich debates. Both the public and private sector were represented, as was the civil society with NGOs, researchers, experts and students.

The student took the floor to present their research and field projects, discussing their approach with investors and private sector actors who provided advice and expressed interest in supporting their projects. A Blue Paper of this first edition is being prepared and will be made available soon.

Water and Sea Workshops
Planet Workshops organized the thematic Water and Sea workshops in order to federate, within different fields, all the actors involved around issues related to water resources management, marine ecosystems preservation and the deployment of the huge potential of the seas and ocean. These workshops also aim to promote innovative solutions and to foster the sharing of good practices and knowledge. The decision to focus a session on the role played by the ocean in a successful transition towards sustainable development was made during the 8th Planetworkshops Global Conference, organized at UNESCO Headquarters in June 2013.

UNESCO’s Oceanographic Intergovernmental Commission (IOC-UNESCO) and its International Hydrology Programme (UNESCO-IHP) collaborated with Planetworkshops and other partners, including Nausicaa (French National Centre of the Sea and IOC-UNESCO Center for excellence), Tara Expeditions and the Race For Water Foundation to create an extensive, rich programme for a productive workshop.

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