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Knowledge Hub on UN SDGs

The second Knowledge Hub dedicated to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) was launched by the Water JPI in December 2019.

IC4WATER Knowledge Hub on UN SDGs: WATER4SDGs

There are hundreds of excellent research projects funded each year through national and international research programs. Researchers work with determination to get the best of these funds by generating adaptable knowledge outputs that can address the pressing societal challenges. However, limited dissemination capacity of individual researchers and project consortiums can hinder these efforts from achieving their expected impact.  It is not a rarity for research outcomes to confine in the echo-chambers of academia in many cases. Thus, there is a continuous need for promoting professional networking initiatives in order to fuse the science-policy-society dialogue channels and transform scientific outputs into practical solutions.

Motivated by providing a fresh impetus to transnational collaboration and knowledge dissemination activities for proposing adaptive water policies, the second Knowledge Hub of Water JPI was launched in December 2019. Abbreviated as the WATER4SDGs, the new Knowledge Hub will be a platform to spread the outstanding water knowledge across international community by utilizing intelligible means. The Knowledge Hub will specifically address the global water challenges posed against achieving UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) under the theme “New Water under Water Scarcity”.

Why “New Water under Water Scarcity” is a relevant theme to achieve UN Sustainable Development Goals?

Post 2015 UN SDGs agenda is a global call for action to eradicate poverty sustainably without compromising the future generations’ needs. Water is a central component for achieving most, if not all of the UN SDGs. Water is the driving force for increasing economic activity in all sectors and ensuring continuity of ecosystem services. Moreover, having access to water of adequate quality and quantity is an indispensable precondition for maintaining a dignified human life and eliminating poverty.

At European level water scarcity challenges are addressed together with drought events with a clear distinction that considers drought as a temporary decrease in water availability, whereas water scarcity is associated with excessive water demand that threatens availability of sustainable water resources[1]. However, current policies related to water at EU level, which is largely shaped by the Water Framework Directive (WFD), incline towards water quality concerns. The Policy Review for water scarcity and droughts that has been concluded in November 2012 recommends that next implementation cycles of WFD needs further integration of water quantity issues into sectoral policies[2].

In this context, elaborating on “New Water under Water Scarcity” in the face of societal challenges is a necessary exercise to contribute to global UN SDGs agenda and European water policies. Nevertheless, thinking on “new water” should not necessarily imply supplying more water by exploiting untouched sources, on the contrary it should be associated with utilization of available water for multiple times and purposes (via recycling, reuse, rainwater and drainage water harvesting, etc). This approach is prevalent in EU’s water scarcity policy that is based on ‘water hierarchy’, which advises member states to rely on additional water supply infrastructures only when all demand-side measures have been exhausted. Driven by this awareness, the experts group in WATER4SDGs Knowledge Hub will collaborate to collate their research outputs, interpret and disseminate them as applicable policy solutions for the interested parties.

How the WATER4SDGs has been formed and How does it work?

The aims, scope, methodology and structure of the WATER4SDGs Knowledge Hub has been created with a bottom-up approach. A series of consultation activities and workshops involving the Water JPI partners and invited experts have been carried out in the process.

The process was kick-started with the Paris Workshop  on February 7 and 8, 2019 for exchanging and proposing topic ideas for the new Water JPI Knowledge Hub. At the end of the Paris Workshop, partners agreed that the Knowledge Hub should primarily reinforce international cooperation for underpinning knowledge and evidence to support policies that can contribute to implementation of UN SDGs by 2030. During the Paris Workshop, specific topic proposals for the Knowledge Hub were discussed as well. These thematic topic options were then carried over and presented at the Water JPI Governing Board Meeting in Berlin on May 22, 2019 for approval, and “New Water under Scarcity” theme was chosen by majority to lead the way for the Knowledge Hub activities.

During the summer and autumn of 2019, interested Water JPI partners, who compose the Steering Committee of the Knowledge Hub worked together to clarify the aims, responsibilities and composition of the Knowledge Hub by compiling a Terms of Reference. During the same period the Steering Committee carried out a deliberate stock taking activity to nominate and invite national experts (i.e. the Seed Group), who will create the real value-added of the Knowledge Hub with their knowledge production and dissemination skills.

The Knowledge Hub has been launched officially at the Lisbon Workshop on December 3, 2019 with the participation of Knowledge Hub Seed Group members and Water JPI partners. The attendees exchanged ideas to identify common interest areas and activities to prioritize in short term. At the end of the workshop, it was agreed that a Policy Brief that can deliver science-based policy recommendations to informed audiences should be the first joint output of the Knowledge Hub. Furthermore, the attendees concurred on the acronym “WATER4SDGs” for the Knowledge Hub, which reflects the UN SDGs oriented approach of the hub.
Click here for the Lisbon workshop keynote presentation.

The first output of the WATER4SDGs Knowledge Hub; a Policy Brief that addresses the water scarcity challenges threatening the UN SDGs will be composed and launched in June 2020, and shared on the Water JPI web page.

Who is who in the WATER4SDGs Knowledge Hub?

The current composition of the Seed Group of WATER4SDGs Knowledge Hub includes 15 water experts with diverse backgrounds, who represent eight Water JPI partner countries. The Seed Group will be subject to expansion with new members in due course, as complementarities are needed for a holistic expert profile. Roberto Deidda from University of Cagliari holds the Scientific Coordinator role of the WATER4SDGs Knowledge Hub.

A complete list of Seed Group member profiles can be accessed via “Who is Who” document.

Countries represented in the KH SEED GROUP.png

Outputs

Water JPI Knowledge Hub UN SDGs Policy Brief “‘New Water’ under Scarcity Integrated Solutions to Accomplish Water Related UN SDGs” - July 2020 - for download here.

See also the Infographics on  “‘New Water’ under Scarcity Integrated Solutions to Accomplish Water Related UN SDGs” - July 2020 - for download here.

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published on 2019/06/21 12:15:00 GMT+2 last modified 2020-07-10T12:36:36+02:00