UNESCO hosts international conference to address growing concern on water access in urban centres globally

The 2nd “Water, Megacities and Global Change” conference, which is expected to gather over 2, 000 participants, and takingplace online on 11-14 January, aims to seek solutions towards resolving the global access to water, which is becoming a cause for concern, especially in urban areas.
It is estimated that by 2030, over a billion people will live in approximately 100 very large cities and 60 % of the world’s population will live in urban areas. Presently, the urban population ratio in some regions surpasses 70% and it is projected that population growth in the coming decades will be higher in urban centers, and particularly in megacities or metropolitan areas of more than 10 million inhabitants. Megacities are found on all continents except Oceania. They cover diverse geographical areas with a wide range of climates and are generally located close to rivers, lakes, or seas. The diversity of intellectual, technical, and financial resources components that exist within megacities is an opportunity for mobilizing these resources so that innovative solutions can emerge and guarantee access to water and sanitation for all populations, equality of services, economic viability, resilience of systems, flexibility of solutions, and the protection of the natural environment.
Co-organized by the  Division of Water Sciences of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization -UNESCO, with ARCEAU-Ile de France (ARCEAU-IdF) , in collaboration with the Greater Paris Metropolis and the greater Paris Sanitation Authority (SIAAP), the conference will gather water and sanitation operators, decision makers and political representatives of Megacities, researchers and students, civil society and basin authorities, who will meet with the overall goal of enhancing the integration, interaction and knowledge exchange between all these majors actors for water management in Megacities, in the face of climate change. Other major objectives of the conference include:
Produce a scientific and technical overview of water challenges and solutions that Megacities face and use to mitigate the effects of climate change, by concretizing the exchange of their expertise in the specific field of water
Strengthen the dialogue between science and policy actors at local level
To activate the cooperation platform of the Megacities Alliance for Water and Climate (MAWAC) by concretizing the exchange of their expertise in the specific field of water and climate
To review the Strategic Global Framework of MAWAC, prepared by the Working Group of UNESCO Intergovernmental Hydrological Programme (IHP)
This is a very important gathering of major water actors that will help continue in finetuning ideas that had been brought up during the 2015 EauMega Conference, to resolve the various water related challenges that megacities face and will face in the future especially in view of the growing global changes enhanced by factors such as climate change, global pandemics like the ongoing Covid pandemic, etc. The work put in place during this conference echoes the main priority of UNESCO’s Division of Water Sciences which is to use science for a water secure world in a changing environment
Abou Amani, Secretary of UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Hydrological Programme

UNESCO’s Director General, Ms. Audrey Azoulay, the Governor of Mexico City, Ms. Claudia Sheinbau, as well as other high-level speakers are participating in the conference. It will close with the passing of the baton to Mexico City, which will host the 3rd international conference on water, megacities, and climate change.

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