5th Water Security and Climate Change conference sees surge in participants due to hybrid format
From 1-4 March 2021, the Water Security and Climate Change (WSCC) conference was held both at the Regional Research and Training Center of the Vietnam Academy for Water Resources and concurrently digitally. Around 100 delegates in Hanoi and 461 online participants joined 20 thematic sessions, four keynote speeches as well as round table discussions. With this high attendance, the WSCC 2021 not only increased its outreach in pure statistics but set new standards for the conference series in terms of interdisciplinary cooperation and networking. In different matchmaking formats, the participants were brought in contact with one another in order to identify joint interests and elaborate future cooperation. Despite the digital format, the WSCC is thus characterized by a high degree of interaction and met the goal of linking stakeholders and practitioners from science, policy and society.
The WSCC is an initiative of the ‘Higher Education Excellence in Development Cooperation – exceed’ program, funded by the German Academic Exchange Service and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. The conference has been implemented since 2016 under the auspices of the Centers for Natural Resources and Development (CNRD), the Sustainable Water Management in Developing Countries (SWINDON) network, the Food Security Center (FSC) as well as the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT).
A continuation of the conference series in 2022 is currently being discussed, the decision will be announced on the WSCC website soon. Here you will also find a graphical summary of the conference key messages, the recorded sessions, keynotes and round tables as well as many pictures and impressions. Please visit https://watersecurity.info/.
In August 2020, the University of Costa Rica (UCR) in San José is going to launch the new MSc program “Integrated Water Resources Management for Latin America and the Caribbean”.
The curriculum of the master program is framed after the MSc program: “Integrated Water Resources Management” currently offered at the Institute for Technology and Resources Management (ITT), TH Köln, Germany (MORE).
From 2th-5th of March 2020, lecturers from the ITT as well as from the National University of Colombia; University Javeriana, Colombia; Autonomous University of San Luis Potosi, Mexico and University of La Frontera, Chile, met at the UCR in Costa Rica to adapt the curriculum to water management challenges and environmental conditions of Latin America and the Caribbean.
Furthermore, we designed IWRM related research projects in South American river basins and discussed the incorporation of our regional pilot case studies into the curriculum of the new master program. By confronting students with real life case studies in the pilot river basins, we aim at applying the praxis-oriented teaching method “Enquiry Based Learning” (EBL). The EBL didactic method is considered an effective way to educate students towards self-determined knowledge creation, lifelong learning and leadership.
The University of Costa Rica (UCR), School of Geography, is offering a new master program in Integrated Water Resources Management with focus on Latin America and the Caribbean.
The MSc program is implemented at the UCR in the scope of a DAAD funded project “Integrated Water Resources Management for Latin America and the Caribbean – IWRM LAC” in the program: “Transnational Education – Degree Programs offered abroad by German Institutions”. The project is coordinated by the Institute for Technology and Resources Management in the Tropics and Subtropics (ITT), TH Köln, Germany.
The study covers a period of four semesters. The internationally oriented program gives students from Latin America and the Caribbean the opportunity to start their studies in San José and to spend an exchange semester at TH Cologne, Germany.
Courses in Costa Rica are taught in Spanish and English. The teaching language at the ITT is English. The curriculum of the master program is framed after the MSc program: “Integrated Water Resources Management” currently offered at ITT, TH Köln (LINK).
The graduates will receive the final degree Master of Science in Integrated Water Resources Management issued by the University of Costa Rica.
Sharing of knowledge between universities Funding for Centers for Natural Resources and Development (CNRD) at TH Köln
For more than ten years the Centers for Natural Resources and Development at TH Köln (University of Applied Sciences) have been connecting universities worldwide with a focus on teaching and research on the management of natural resources. 34 scientific institutions are currently cooperating within the network. CNRD is now being funded for another three years through the exceed program of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) in order to pass on its many years of experience to new exceed centers.
With the exceed program, the DAAD promotes cooperation with reference to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) between German universities and universities in countries in the global south. In 2009 the funding started with five projects – including the CNRD, coordinated by Prof. Dr. Lars Ribbe from the Institute for Technology and Resource Management in the Tropics and Subtropics (ITT). For a further funding phase, seven new projects have now been selected, which benefit from the experience of the preceding projects.
“The CNRD network has grown steadily since it was founded and today supports multilateral master -, doctoral – and online programs, conducts cooperative research projects and regularly organizes specialist conferences. In particular, it has designed a model for integrating teaching, research, transfer and application in the form of living laboratories, that are currently being implemented with numerous partners worldwide. We are pleased to pass on this management knowledge to the new exceed centers”, says Professor Ribbe, former head of the ITT and currently founding dean of the Faculty for Spatial Development and Infrastructure Systems.
In addition to the transfer of expertise, the CNRD will also continue its previous activities.
In October 2019, the Water Security and Climate Change conference series was successfully continued at the Autonomous University of San Luis Potosí, Mexico. About 160 participants from around 30 nations participated in 15 thematic sessions. The WSCC is characterized by an interdisciplinary and multi-actor approach. Thus, on the one hand, the WSCC provides a platform for scientific exchange, and on the other hand, it serves as a forum for discourse between stakeholders from policy, society and academia regarding the most pressing issues related to climate change.
The WSCC 2019 followed the concept of the previous conferences in 2016-2018 by holding numerous technical sessions on e.g. groundwater, water quality, water and energy nexus, and the impacts of climate change. But also the role of Sustainable Development Goals, urban water management, nature-based solutions, food security and social science perspectives were discussed.
Particular pleasing was the high proportion of young scientists from Asia, South and Central America as well as Africa who were able to present their research in the WSCC funded through the German Academic Exchange Service’s Exceed program. CNRD, ITT and TH Köln as co-organizers of the conference series look forward to the next WSCC in 2020/21.
From October 31st to November 2nd 2019, the members of the CNRD gathered at the Autonomous University of San Luis Potosí, Mexico, in order to present the network to external stakeholders, reflect CNRD’s results of the past as well as promoting future activities. The meeting was attended by some 25 participants from 14 nations to foster the cooperation. Particular attention was paid to the following issues: (1) The expansion of the IWRMnet, an association of CNRD members that intends to join forces in Integrated Water Resources Management and develop joint teaching modules for this purpose; (2) the promotion of the interdisciplinary Master course on Resource Efficient Cities (IMaREC), which is to be established at various universities within the CNRD network; and (3) joint activities on Natural Resources Management for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation.
Furthermore, two new partner institutions were welcomed to the CNRD at this year’s ANM. These are the Asian Institute of Technology (Thailand) and the University of West Indies, Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies – CERMES (Barbados). At this point it is also worth mentioning that immediately after the network meeting CNRD was confirmed a further financing phase (2020-2022) by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), in order to sustain the network activities and to support the development of new Exceed networks. We are thus looking forward to a fruitful cooperation in the future.
Scientists, policy makers and stakeholders from various sectors discuss the diverse facets of water security and its relation to climate variability and change.
The availability of water affects many of mankind’s social and economic actions and is an essential component of ecosystems. Hence, water security is one of the major challenges faced by society today, on both a global and local level. Additionally, impacts of climate change and water-related hazards are increasingly decisive for well-being, poverty, conflict or peace and have become a key component of social development.
Water security as well as climate change are cross-cutting elements of recent global agreements, such as the Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. Science should and can play an important role in contributing to the achievement of these goals.
The Water Security and Climate Change Conference (WSCC) strives to go beyond science and build bridges between various disciplines and sectors as well as different groups of stakeholders. Serving as a platform for discussions about water secure societies, by providing a stimulating environment with the intention of yielding innovative ideas and grounds for implementation, the WSCC is continuing a series of successful conferences in Bangkok, Cologne and Nairobi.
In 2019, WSCC is convened by the Universidad Autónoma de San Luis Potosí on behalf of the Exceed network, which consists of more than 90 universities worldwide. More information in www.watersecurity.info
Effectively contributing towards the achievement of the IWRM principles in the future, strengthening the relationship between partners from various countries and contexts by exchanging personal skills, knowledge and approaches as well as understanding the common challenges educators encounter, were the objectives of the “Training of Trainers Workshop on Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM)” at the Independent University, Bangladesh (IUB) in October 2018 which was supported by CNRD.
The consultative workshop was co-organized by the School of Environmental Science and Management (SESM) at the Independent University, Bangladesh (IUB) and the ITT. In five days experts and faculty members from the ITT; the SESM IUB; the University of Gadjah Mada, Indonesia; the University of Khartoum, Sudan; and the Vietnam Academy for Water Resources, Vietnam were trained on innovative learning methods including an e-learning tool as well as developing relevant learning outcomes and effective assessment for IWRM courses. With the help of several case studies the concepts, policies, tools and issues presented in the IWRM modules and problem and research-based learning in IWRM were illustrated. The participants presented some of the on-going IWRM capacity building initiatives undertaken in their respective countries, proposed follow-up plans for translating, customizing and disseminating the manuals at national level and had the chance to carry out a brief participatory discussion in a field situation on a boat trip from Ashulia to Sadarghat.
The workshop was inaugurated by Professor M. Omar Rahman (Honorable Vice Chancellor, Independent University, Bangladesh) and facilitated by Susanne Glaeser (Team Leader, Center for Teaching Development at TH Cologne, Germany) and Günther Straub (Coordinator, Center for Natural Resources and Development, Germany).
Additionally, opening remarks were delivered by Dr. Saleemul Huq (Director, International Center for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) at IUB) and Dr. Md. Abdul Khaleque (Dean, SESM, IUB) outlined the key components of the CNRD-IUB partnership and set emphasis on the importance of the training. A keynote speech was presented by Dr. Mashfiqus Salehin (Professor, Institute of Flood and Water Management at Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET)) in which he delineated the current IWRM practices and challenges in Bangladesh.
From 08 to 12 October this year’s CNRD Annual Network Meeting (ANM) took place in Cologne, Germany. Almost 60 CNRD members, the CNRD advisory board, cooperation partners, as well as ITT companions from 27 countries discussed the strategy and structure of the network as well as future perspectives. During the week the CNRD partners had many opportunities to identify and discuss common interests and strengthen future collaborations. In an interdisciplinary session, the CNRD members were joined by a group of ITT Alumni in order to create synergies and to intensify the rooting of CNRD.
We are especially happy about the confirmation of many new CNRD partners – such as the German Jordanian University (Jordan), National University of Sciences and Technology (Pakistan), Qatar University (Quatar), Sultan Qaboos University (Oman), University of Cuenca (Ecuador), Pontifica Universidad Católica de Chile (Chile), University of Costa Rica (Costa Rica), State University of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Universidad de La Frontera (Chile), University of Zambia (Zambia), Yezin Agricultural University (Myanmar). This further expansion of the network corresponds to the open character of the CNRD, testifies the success of the cooperation and gives further impetus for the future.
We are pleased to announce that abstracts can now be submitted for the Water Security and Climate Change (WSCC) Conference 2018; organized by Kenyatta University, the International Network on Sustainable Water Management in Developing Countries – SWINDON (TU Braunschweig), the Centers for Natural Resources and Development – CNRD (TH Köln) and the Food Security Center – FSC (University Hohenheim).
The WSCC 2018 takes up the “bridge-building” aspect of the WSCC 2017 and preserves continuity by serving as a platform for discussions towards water secure societies. The environment shall be a stimulus for discussing new and innovative ideas with special attention to SDGs dealing with “Zero Hunger and Food Security”, “Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation”, “Clean Water and Sanitation”, “Sustainable Cities and Communities”, and “Combat climate change and its impacts”.