Water Dialogues for Results – Bonn 2021: Policy recommendations on the role science can play in accelerating cross-sectoral SDG 6 implementation

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The “Science & Research Forum – Water Dialogues for Results I Towards Bonn 2021”, which took place on 18 May 2021, provided space to discuss the role of science in enabling decision-making and accelerating cross-sectoral implementation of SDG 6. The recently published outcome document highlights the event’s key findings and gives policy recommendations to foster inter- and transdisciplinary research, innovation and implementation.

The Science & Research Forum is part of the Water Dialogues for Results and was co-hosted by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), the Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) and UNESCO, with contributions from GRoW. The recently published outcome document summarizes the main findings of the Forum and identifies policy recommendations. It highlights the need for more and different kinds of data to inform decisions and better target solutions, so that no one is left behind. The authors acknowledge that science and technology have made significant advances in developing new methods for data collection and processing (e.g. in seasonal forecasts on hydrometeorological extreme events or in the collection of data via new drone technologies). However, the collected data is often not systematically utilized. In order to change that, data from various sectors and sources need to be quality-checked and integrated according to existing information needs. Here, involving social sciences can help to bridge the gaps between science, policy and local implementation.

Participants of the Science & Research Forum suggest that science needs to become a regular element in water-related decision-making processes. This conclusion resonates with the GRoW science-based call for action which highlights the need for a transparent, evidence-based water governance. To achieve this, mechanisms should be established at different levels – including an international scientific advisory panel for SDG implementation at UN level or partnerships between science, administration, civil society and the private sector at local to national levels. 

The detailed outcome document including recommendations of the Science & Research Forum is available here. For more information on GRoW’s contributions to the Forum, please take a look at GRoW’s latest publication “Highlights & Results. New Tools and Analyses for the Management of Water as a Global Resource (GRoW)”.

The outcome document of the Science & Research Forum will feed into discussions of the Water Dialogues for Results High-Level Conference in Bonn on 1 July 2021. The conference will be the final event of the Water Dialogues for Results and, as such, is part of the process towards the Mid-term review of the UN Water Action Decade 2018-2028. The event will be broadcasted live. You can join the conference via livestream here.