GRoW mid-term conference

Water as a global resource – Global analyses and local solutions for sustainable water management at the GRoW mid-term conference 2019

On February 20 and 21, 2019, the 12 GRoW projects met at the mid-term conference in Frankfurt am Main to present and discuss their interim results with experts from business, policy and practice. The conference also provided an opportunity to showcase the GRoW cross-cutting topics and to debate how scientific project results can be successfully transferred into practice.

GRoW collaborative projects

The coordinators of the GRoW research projects presented interdisciplinary and methodologically diverse research approaches, through which they shape innovative pathways to increase good governance in the water sector in over 40 case studies worldwide. In addition to new management tools, the GRoW projects develop e.g. global maps of water use efficiency and apply climate models for seasonal reservoir management. They develop methods for applying the water footprint in the private sector in general and the textile production in particular. Around 200 experts from almost 100 institutions took part in the discussion of the interim results presented. Guests of the conference included stakeholders from private and public sectors as well as from international organizations committed to achieving SDG 6.

Cross-cutting topics

The conference also dealt with the current activities taking place within the three GRoW cross-cutting topics “Incentive mechanisms in the context of governance”, “SDGs: hitting the targets” and “Water footprint”. GRoW partners engaged in these working groups  exchange knowledge to benefit from both thematic and methodological synergies between the projects involved.

GRoW projects involved in the first cross-cutting topic deal with the effectiveness of economic, legal and reputative incentive mechanisms, which strongly depend on the political and social framework in the respective target regions. GRoW experts working in the second cross-cutting topic identify trade-offs and synergies between different SDGs and consider related indicators, data and models. Activities on the third cross-cutting issue have so far focused e.g. on discussing how the water footprint can be linked to economic and social impacts, or how global trade affects water stress in certain regions and vice versa. The working group is also considering how aspects of water quality can be more efficiently integrated into the evaluation of the water footprint and how the water footprint can be advanced into an effective instrument for more sustainable water use.

Breakout sessions

Five parallel working groups on the second day of the conference offered the opportunity to discuss how scientific project results can be successfully put into practice with experts from business, policy and practice. Two breakout groups focused on the GRoW target regions Africa and Latin America. Three other working groups on the topics “Digitalisation  – opportunities for implementing SDG 6”, “Water quality as a challenge for achieving SDG 6” and “Water-use efficiency, sustainability guidelines, water footprint” also identified challenges and opportunities for the transfer of the research results into practical application and formulated recommendations for action.

Impulses for further cooperation

The success of the GRoW mid-term conference was evident both in the productive scientific exchange and in the fruitful discussion of common issues. The focus on factors for the successful transfer of research results to relevant target groups from policy, business and administration – both internationally and among local stakeholders in the GRoW target regions –  was very well received and provided constructive impulses for further activities within the GRoW funding measure.