04 February 2013

World Water Scenarios Initiative launches at IIASA

Today, senior representatives from government and non-government organizations, business and academia gathered at IIASA in Laxenburg, Austria to discuss the launch of a new initiative to assess the current and future states of water resources around the world and the options that we have for managing water-related challenges.
water program ©IIASA

water program ©IIASA

The Water Futures and Solutions: World Water Scenarios Initiative started through a partnership of IIASA, UNESCO, the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs of the Republic of Korea, the World Water Council, and the International Water Association, and continues to add new partners. It aims to provide a scientific basis for responding to worldwide water challenges by testing possible optional solutions against a number of scenarios for socio-economic change, and bring together decision makers to discuss a common vision for the future.

This 6 year initiative aims to be a comprehensive cross-sector assessment of the state of water resources globally, at a national and regional level, and it will deliver its first results at the 7th World Water Forum in Korea in 2015. The initiative follows IIASA’s Applied Systems Analysis approach which has culminated in groundbreaking assessments such as the Global Energy Assessment.  

“Water has traditionally been analyzed by different communities as a special sectoral issue. My view is that we need to look at the future of water resources as a cross-cutting system issue,” IIASA Director and CEO Prof. Pavel Kabat said recently in an interview with Nature Climate Change. During his introduction at the meeting today, Kabat pointed out that the World Water Scenarios initiative brings several innovations to the study of water resources. It is a unique partnership between academia, business, non-governmental organizations, and the UN. Secondly, it combines a number of different models and methodologies of water research, at both a global and regional scale.

At the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in June 2012, global leaders acknowledged the core role of water in achieving sustainable development and growth, stressing the critical need to take decisive action today in order to meet global development objectives in a sustainable manner.  The World Water Scenarios initiative plans to develop a new generation of global, regional and country-based water-resource and water-demand scenarios and options to address current and future water demands.

From left: Glen Daigger, President, International Water Association. Ben Braga, President, World Water Council, Yan-Jin Oh, Director, Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs of Korea,

The launch meeting will provide an overview of the initiative, and aims to formulate needs and priority areas by decision-makers in water resource management and a number of other sectors and disciplines, experts from government and the private sector, and other stakeholders representing a broad range of geo-political and social settings.  During opening addresses this afternoon, representatives of project partner organizations spoke about the challenges and possibilities for the new initiative.

During his address, World Water Council (WWC) President Professor Dr. Ben Braga, said, “We are here to invent the water future we want. These scenarios will be a great body of knowledge for informing decision-makers.”

International Water Association (IWA) President Dr. Glen Daigger emphasized the unique partnership between academics and people who do practical work in the field of water resources. He said, “We need the intellectual resources as well as the knowledge that comes from doing the work.”

Photo: Glen Daigger, IWA President

More information

Meeting agenda (PDF)

Annex document & participant list (PDF)

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Project partners met this morning prior to the begin of the launch meeting for the Global Water Futures: World Water Scenarios initiative. From left: Hans D’Orville, Assistant Director General - Bureau of Strategic Planning, UNESCO, Pavel Kabat, Director/CEO, IIASA, Ben Braga, President, World Water Council, Yan-Jin Oh, Director, Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs of Korea, Glen Daigger, President, International Water Association.

From Left: Andrew Segrave, Wim van Vierssen, Paul Yillia, Danielle Gaillard-Picher, Olcay Unver, David Wiberg, Hans D’Orville, Pavel Kabat, Ger Bergkamp, Eun-Kyung Park, Ben Braga, Yan-Jin Oh, Bill Cosgrove, Glen Daigger, Ambassador Erwin Kubesch, HeeKyung Park, Chin-Min Lee

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Last edited: 11 March 2013


Event description, agenda, and more information.

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Schlossplatz 1, A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria
Phone: (+43 2236) 807 0 Fax:(+43 2236) 71 313