2015/08/20 Bonn, Germany
UNU-FLORES organized panel discussion on the subject of governing the Water-Soil-Waste Nexus at ‘Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): A water perspective’, a conference organized by the Global Water System Project in Bonn on 17-18 August. The panel focused on elaborating on the concept of the Nexus Observatory, the nexus observatory is an online platform for collecting data, consolidating knowledge and supporting its translation into policy relevant advice to decision makers including donors, member states and community organizations responsible for management of environmental resources: water, soil and waste. Using case studies covering water and wastewater the session will elaborate upon the role of public financing, remote sensing, groundwater management and data analytics in supporting evidence based decision making.
The panel brought together experts from a range of disciplines. Reza Ardakanian, UNU-FLORES Director, introduced the session by providing an overview of the Nexus Approach and the mandate of UNU-FLORES. Mathew Kurian, of the Capacity Development and Governance Unit at UNU-FLORES, made a presentation on issues of data monitoring and governance. His presentation focused on the current discussions relating to monitoring of the sustainable development goals and how the Nexus Observatory may help advance those goals. Rifat Hossain from the World Health Organization (WHO) focused his presentation on the role of data from Earth observation for framing research inquiry. He drew upon case studies from the water-wastewater nexus and the recent studies of the Task Team for Earth Observations that was convened by the UNEP, WHO, and UN-HABITAT. Linda Veiga, Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Minho, spoke about the role of indexes in supporting evidence-based decision making. Her presentation used case studies to emphasize the importance of indexing for the management of flood and drought risk. Finally Stephen Foster, Senior Advisor at Global Water Partnership, made a presentation on the role of groundwater management in advancing the Nexus Approach.
The overarching message of the session was that there is a need to learn lessons from the process of monitoring the Millennium Development Goals and these lessons need to be incorporated into current discussions on SDG’S. One such lesson is that data reliability and establishing links with the decision-making processes and structures is key. Another lesson is that effective monitoring should be based on regional consortia that deliberate upon and identify relevant strategies, goals, targets and indicators that could advance sustainable outcomes. In particular, there is a need to focus on governance aspects in certain issues of municipal governance, community participation and incentives schemes that are focussed on achieving sustainable outcomes. Discussions on sustainable outcomes can be complimented by novel data and earth observations by creating a new platform for organizing and integrating data on water and wastewater resources and, thereby, lead to a breakdown of sectoral silos. A specific example is, how regional consortia, by focussing on development of capacity for early warning on flood and drought risk, would advance the Nexus Approach by aligning investment decisions better with development priorities s as they relate to agricultural productivity and public health outcomes.
Kurian, Mathew, Mario Suardi and Reza Ardakanian. 2016. Nexus Planning Primer: Lessons from Case Studies. Dresden: UNU-FLORES.
Kurian, Mathew, Reza Ardakanian, Linda Gonçalves Veiga and Kristin Meyer. 2016. Resources, Services and Risks: How Can Data Observatories Bridge the Science-Policy Divide in Environmental Governance? Springer.