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Dutch-Swedish collaboration targets 5 areas ahead of water’s “watershed” moment

Tuesday, 26 July 2022

The Netherlands government has strengthened a partnership with the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) to work on five priority water areas.

Water’s watershed moment

Ahead of what is being called a “watershed moment” in water, the Government of the Netherlands has strengthened its partnership with the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI).

The €4 million, four-year agreement has been agreed ahead of 2023, when the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Republic of Tajikistan will co-host the first United Nations Conference on water since 1977.

The collaboration follows a number of high level strategic partnerships recently signed by the Dutch government. 

In Vietnam, support will be provided as part of a masterplan to help restore the Mekong Delta. Meanwhile in Egypt, a cooperation agreement will see the two countries working together in ten key areas to help in planning and development of water resources.

Five priority areas

The SIWI partnership will focus on five key areas of “fundamental importance”:

International policy. Water is crucial to achieving all the Sustainable Development Goals. The Government of the Netherlands and SIWI often join forces to elevate the role of water in for example the global climate talks and the 2030 Agenda. They also form a strong partnership ahead of the United Nations 2023 Water Conference.

World Water Week. The world needs more collaboration and coordination of different international processes. As the leading conference on global water issues, the SIWI-led World Water Week is an increasingly important arena for this.

Water diplomacy is an important tool to reduce conflicts and tension. The Government of the Netherlands supports SIWI’s work among basin actors in some of the world’s most conflict-affected regions.

Water as a catalyst for peace. Transboundary water cooperation is a crucial catalyst for peace and development. The SIWI-led International Centre for Water Cooperation (ICWC) generates knowledge and contributes to concrete solutions.

Source-to-sea management. SIWI and the Government of the Netherlands are leading champions of source-to-sea management which is crucial to restoring ocean health and tackling poverty. The approach was met with great interest at the recent United Nations Oceans Conference.

Targeting “worrying” water trends

Both the Government of the Netherlands and SIWI are working on capacity-development and to place water higher on the international agenda.

“Worrying trends” identified to spark the collaboration include increasingly fragmented governance, shrinking space for civil society in many countries, and a lack of progress on many of the Sustainable Development Goals that should be achieved by 2030.

“What I see SIWI doing is to develop and advance governance – tools, methodologies, and knowledge – at local, regional, and international levels,” said René van Hell, director of inclusive green growth at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Government of the Netherlands.

He said SIWI is “an effective convenor and facilitator of stakeholder dialogues that can attract not only decision-makers but the private sector, finance, and NGOs”.

Karin Gardes, chief operating officer at SIWI, said: “We really appreciate the emphasis placed by the Government of the Netherlands on inclusion. 

“With growing water scarcity, competition over water resources looks set to grow, exacerbating existing inequalities. It is therefore of fundamental importance that water policy includes gender and youth perspectives, as well as Indigenous knowledge.”

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