Participation of UNDP RIO+ Centre at the V Water Seminar at UNISUAM

Photo credit: Cristóval Poyato/ Flickr

Within the framework of the XIV Week of Research, Extension, Post-Graduation and Innovation of the institution of higher education UNISUAM, issues related to Territory, Education and Sustainable Development were discussed and elaborated by students and researchers under different scientific perspectives.

During this event, the V Water Seminar was also hosted on the 20th of October in UNISUAM at the Bonsucesso’s campus in the city of Rio de Janeiro. The panel on Water Resources, Participative Management & Environmental Education was moderated by professor José Teixeira Filho representing UNISUAM/FIPERJ with the participation of Nelson Reis Filho, PhD student on Civil Engineering at COPPE/UFRJ, Markus Budzynkz, Executive Coordinator of APEDEMA-RJ and Aikaterini Tsakanika, Global South Fellow of UNDP World Centre for Sustainable Development (RIO+ Centre). The latter presented the concept and principles of the Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) as part of the strategic plan of RIO+ Centre’s long-time partner CAP-NET UNDP to share knowledge, build the capacity of stakeholders for sustainable water management and strengthen partnerships among actors.

IWRM is promoting adaptation to climate change and good water management practices while adopting the human rights approach to reassure that no one will be left behind. The IWRM acknowledges the need for enabling institutional and legal arrangements that set the norms, rules and procedures for efficient, inclusive and sustainable water management across the cycle of the resource (treatment-distribution-use/reuse- sewage- residual water treatment), as well as the economic and financial tools to maximize benefit from its use.

In line with the 2030 Agenda, the IWRM tool proves to be a valuable ally for the joint implementation of the SDGs in Brazilian coastal urban territories: particularly of SDG#6 (Clean Water and Sanitation), SDG#14 (Life Below Water)  and SDG#11 (Sustainable Cities and communities). The goal is to ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all, to conserve and sustainable use of the oceans, seas and marine resources, as well as to make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable, respectively.

Brazil, despite being a country with water abundance, is marked by regional, racial and gender inequalities that contribute to a distinctly differentiated distribution of the water across time and space. Moreover, according to a report of the National Water Agency (ANA, in Portuguese) in 2013, both extreme natural phenomena of drought and flood occur predominantly in 5 regions across the coastline of the country which coincide with the overly populated coastal urban territories where national economic activity is mostly concentrated. This is a remarkable evidence of correlation between the current model of intensified development at urban coastal areas, and the levels of abundance and accessibility of water resources.

Domestic challenges are further stressed by populational growth, modern patterns of consumption, economic activities that bring great environmental impact, inadequate water management and climate change. The recent water crisis in Brasília, as well as São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro states sign the urgency focusing on institutions, economic and financial tools and management systems that would guarantee the intergenerational, continuous, sufficient and safe use of this public good for all and especially women and other vulnerable people (namely water poor).

In this vein, both UNDP Projects, RIO+ Centre and CAP-NET UNDP, coordinate their efforts to systematically stimulate and engage academia, regulators and users into such participative processes that would permit sustainable allocation and transparent monitoring of the water resources under the three-dimensional (social- economic- environmental) concept of sustainable development as defined by the 2030 Agenda.