South Africa’s hub for water-centred knowledge, the Water Research Commission (WRC), played a leading role in a water-themed side event to the first European Union (EU) – South African Summit, which took place in Bordeaux, France, in July.
The Water Research for Sustainable Development Seminar, convened by the French and South African governments together with the European Commission, was held to highlight the strong science and technology partnership between South Africa and the EU. The aim of the seminar was to provide a platform for identifying initiatives, which would enhance water research cooperation between the two parties.
The focus of the seminar was on water as a critical resource for sustainable development against the broad background of key socio-economic and environmental challenges, including food security and climate change.
The seminar included four thematic workshops focusing on water research and food security and the environment; water research and health; water research and economy and water research and global change. These themes relate directly to the WRC’s Impact Areas of Water and Society, Water and Health, Water and the Economy and Water and the Environment.
WRC CEO Dr Rivka Kfir facilitated the water research and health workshop, while Director Water Use and Waste Management Jay Bhagwan facilitated discussions around water research and the economy. In turn, WRC Research Manager Dr Renias Dube led the water research and food security workshop. In each case, the facilitator introduced the workshop through a related presentation.
Among others, the seminar stressed the importance of a concerted global effort to invest in knowledge generation pertaining to water resources, usage and quality, and for all parties to contribute to developing instruments for improving the preservation and utilisation of water as a shared precious good for all of humanity.
Based on a review of current cooperation activities the seminar sought to identify new research priorities and instruments, which could support collaboration.
Concretely, these recommendations were included in the seminar’s conclusions, which was communicated to the Summit and formally noted as one of the Summit’s deliverables.
For more information:
Ms Lani van Vuuren
Public Understanding of Science Officer
Tel: (012) 330-0340
Fax: (012) 331-2565