World Water Week Congress Opens to Address the Global Water Challenges

About 2,500 leading water experts have
gathered in Stockholm for the 20th annual World Water Week, which
opened this morning with calls for better facilitated efforts
addressing escalating global water challenges.

Held under the theme:
Responding to Global Changes: The Water Quality
” the meeting comes at a time when both water issues
and their solutions have never been more globally integrated and
complex. The need to expand horizons beyond current spheres of
cooperation gives participants at this year’s World Water Week a
renewed drive to connect the dots to achieve the desired

“Bad water kills more people than HIV,
malaria and wars together, affecting the lives of families and the
economic development of many countries around the world.” Anders
Berntell, Executive Director of Stockholm International Water

We are also increasingly seeing that ecosystems and their
services are being degraded by pollution, which will affect all
functions of society,” said Mr. Anders Berntell, Executive Director
of Stockholm International Water Institute, in his welcome address
at the opening session.

The World Water Week is designed to
build capacity, promote partnerships, and review progress on the
correlations between water quality, access and related Millennium
Development Goals such as poverty reduction and public health.
Other issues raised during the week include climate change
adaptation, urbanisation, water governance, the human rights to
water and sanitation, and the growing strategic water concerns for

More than 20 ministers, including
the Swedish Minister for International Development Cooperation
Gunilla Carlsson are joined by leading experts in Stockholm to
address these issues.

“A great deal has happened since
World Water Week was launched 20 years ago. For example, today,
almost two billion more people have access to safe drinking water
compared with twenty years ago, and around 1.5 billion more people
have access to sanitation,’said Carlsson during the official World
Water Week opening address.

The provision of safe water has actually outperformed global
population growth and given more than eight million people, roughly
the population of Sweden, access to safe water every month - for 20
years,” he added.

The opening day included a speech by the 2010 Stockholm Water
Prize Laureate, Dr. Rita Colwell, who warned that shortcomings in
addressing the water quality issue, coupled with climate changes,
could lead to disastrous outbreaks of water-borne diseases such as
cholera, which would in turn affect economic and national

This year marks the 20th anniversary of both the World
Water Week and the Stockholm Water Prize. A majority of the
previous Stockholm Water Prize laureates are present in Stockholm
in observance of the jubilee to share their solutions to future
water challenges at a special laureates’ seminar later during the


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