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Highlights from the W12 Framework Conference in Cape Town

Will cities around the world have enough water by 2050? What steps should be put in place for cities to ensure a secure and equitable water future?

EcoCiv is working to convene leaders and experts from around the world to propose a framework aimed at long-term water solutions across the globe. Last week, we partnered with universities and local NGOs in South Africa to host the W12 Framework Conference. More than 130 participants from 15 countries came together to participate in this invitation-only conference, which leads toward the public W12 Congress in May.

Together, these organizations and experts are creating the W12 Framework, a document and a website that aggregates the best urban water practices from city governments and policy leaders around the world, as well as strategies from the sectors of economics, politics, natural sciences, technical sciences, social sciences and civil society. It aims to collect existing knowledge and best practices from cities around the world and to distill it in a way that is useful for city decision-makers and those they interact with.

Over two days, task teams made up of these sectors worked collaboratively toward multi-disciplinary actions and solutions.  Highlights from the conference include:

  • Participation of six task teams in the sectors of natural sciences, social sciences, politics, economics, technical sciences and civil society.

  • A screening of the BBC documentary Thirst for Justice followed by a discussion with the director Leana Hosea.

  • Multi-sector workshops that explored water scenarios and strategies over 5, 10, 20 and 30-year periods.
  • Deliberations and the collective drafting of a document that will propose long-term strategies for urban water solutions around the globe.

Cape Town weathered a water crisis for a number of years, and “Day Zero” marked the day predicted for all taps to run dry in the city. Fortunately, the city was able to avoid Day Zero as a result of widespread campaigns and initiatives to reduce water usage. Now, the W12 Congress is drawing upon this experience to strategize a protocol for global urban water security for the next 30 years.

This Framework document is set to be presented and discussed at the W12 Congress in May. Participants in this Congress include city government delegates, international leaders in the water industry, UNESCO directors, and global water experts. Former Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger will make an appearance as a keynote speaker.

Thank you to our partners University of the Western Cape, the University of Cape Town Future Water Institute, the Stellenbosch University Water Institute, and Save Our Schools NPO.

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