After the successful launch of the first international WPL Forum in July 2021, IFSD partnered with Australia India Water Centre (AIWC), the World Water Policy Journal, University of Botswana, and Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) to organize the second International Water Policy Lab Forum (WPL II): Co-creating knowledge, policy, and practice for water security under a changing climate, on 18 November 2021.
The event was chaired by Dr Basundhara Bhattarai, with Dr Hemant Ojha offering a science setting remarks on the relevance and approach of the WPL Forum.
A total of 40 participants attended from across the Asia-Pacific region and Africa. The aim of this forum was to share knowledge and insights on facilitating policies and practical innovations to tackle problems of water insecurity as well as risk to sustainable ecosystems and equitable livelihoods.
The forum featured four speakers with extensive expertise in the water sector.
Prof Piet Kenabatho at the University of Botswana and expert hydrologists who shared his engagement in bringing Integrated Water Management and water efficiency policy of Botswana. He emphasized the need for interdisciplinary approach, stakeholder engagement for water problems acknowledging himself as a surface hydrologist he cannot solve the water problems.
Mr Dipak Gyawali, Ex-Minister Resources in Nepal shared his experiences between the gap between academics and politicians highlighting that the need of understanding politics is at local level and for any policy change.
Prof Mukand Singh Babel at Asian Institute of Technology Bangkok shared his experience advancing conceptual and policy debates around water security and climate change at regional level in Asia as well as locally in the city of Bangkok and other case studies in the region. He shared experiential insights around risk management, handling trade-off among different water use, tackling data gaps in water management.
Prof Susana Neto is a professor associated with University of Lisbon and University of Western Australia. She shared her experience as a water professional taking an interdisciplinary approach. She highlighted a range of science-policy interfaces, including those related to the EU and OECD. Her stories covered projects related to river basin management to city level water security planning and management.
Following the speakers’ presentation was an engaging moderated session by Prof Jeff Camkin. The forum concluded by highlighting the importance of embracing an interdisciplinary approach to understanding water issues and further taking a collaborative approach to solve it. Prof Basant Maheshwari of AIWC concluded the Forum reinforcing the value of collective learning in solving water and environmental challenges.