During World Water Week to date, the importance of resilient infrastructure systems has featured widely in the conference programme. Eleanor Earl, Project Leader for our work on water resilience shares some early reflections.
This year, a number of sessions at World Water Week have considered the role of resilience in building resilience in water and connected systems.
Case studies have been shared from a number of contexts, from the Sao Paolo water crises of 2014 to Beira, Mozambique after the recent cyclone.
Time to build relations and partnerships prior and post-crises
On Sunday we heard Iyad Rammel from the World Water Forum discuss resilience in protracted crises. During this session Iyad highlighted the need for i) financial transparency to strengthen response and sustain service delivery ii) having and testing emergency plans and finally iii) development partnerships. Iyad noted that, there was clear need in these situations for humanitarian and development partners to coordinate prior to crises to improve resilience – later reiterated in other sessions. It is clear that broader engagement and coordination between stakeholders and actors between sectors beyond water, to better prepare for the shocks and stresses, is needed in all contexts.
Let’s think longer term the goals are set until 2030
Henk Ovink – at the climate resilience development in coastal cities session – highlighted the need for governance to move more quickly globally to meet world challenges. The climate crises was highlighted as a key need for resilience. This means thinking both long and short term and fully integrating key decisions of our time from the Paris Agreement to the Sustainable development goals.
Need for regulation and capacity building
Despite the concept of resilience being widely discussed, there is still a clear need for the means and ways of applying resilience. What are the building blocks? What are the metrics? These are clear questions which need to be resolved and shared through the work of the Resilience Shift and other players in the sector. Evidence of the testing and pre-work achieved in Cape Town and Miami through our work developing the City Water Resilience Index aims to begin to achieve this clear need.
Nature is the answer… what is the question?
Another key message coming out of the conference has been the need for nature-based solutions to enhance resilience, particularly of water assets. It is well-known that the ecosystem services delivered by natural assets are wide-ranging, helping do deal with a multitude of shocks and stresses.
It has been great to see several examples of this in practice, including a site visit to Royal Sea Port during the week which has integrated interventions including green corridors throughout the development through to creating public parks in the riparian zone in Kibera, Nairobi by the Kounkuey Design Initiative.