Engineering is one of the key elements of sustainable development. It underpins and impacts almost every aspect of our policy, financial, physical, social and environmental solutions. As the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) are implemented, water infrastructures, technologies and innovations at all levels will be critical. It is estimated that over the period 2015-2030, most countries will need to allocate 1-2% of their GDP to water infrastructure.
In addressing today’s challenges, water engineering is truly blue-green, i.e. it addresses water problems in a holistic way and is a multidisciplinary endeavor, understanding and responding to environmental and societal needs, with deference for human rights, leverages critical grey infrastructure , sustains economic growth, includes nature-based solutions and makes the most of ecosystem services.
Blue-green water engineering is a significant component of the five SDG6 accelerators that are required to bring nations back on track by i) bringing innovation to reality, ii) generating and using information and data for positive water outcomes; iii) increasing capacity development; iv) mobilizing and utilizing financing for the most effective multi-purpose outcomes; and v) providing options and adhering to good governance.
The purpose of this virtual event is to mobilize relevant stakeholders and catalyze contributions to the Action Agenda by exploring ways to facilitate and expand the communication and collaboration between engineers and others working on water issues, but also those beyond the water sector, such as, the food, energy, human health and social services sectors, and also those who are actively working to defend and promote human rights and environmental justice. The side-event seeks to explore opportunities to synergize and utilize knowledge across agencies, foundations, industry, academia and NGOs - building on models that are demonstrating success.
Recognizing that water connects sectors and people and issues, the proposed virtual event is intended to bring together a panel of high-level leaders and experts from different sectors, including engineering, to build an ongoing dialog on ways to bridge the gap across knowledge and governance silos in order to build a stronger approach to future decision making.
Areas of special interest for discussion include dealing with water scarcity, flood risk management in view of climate change, coastal resilience addressing vulnerability to sea level rise and increasingly more intense cyclones/typhoons, and ecological restoration of sensitive areas, such as wetlands.