2 Apr 2012

Strong impressions from the WWF

A few more thoughts...
  1. Associations devoted to sustainable use of water by businesses continue to avoid the elephant in the room: corruption that puts their operations in foreign countries at risk. I was hopeful that the Alliance for Water Stewardship was going to take on this problem. In their session, they proposed an evaluation of sustainable water use at member locations AS WELL AS use in the area (to get an idea of site impact vs total impact in the area), but AWS does not appear to be taking this brave step. Instead, they will wait to hear what the "community of stakeholders" (everyone it seems) has to say. That may be a disappointing wait.

  2. The "governance" crowd, likewise, is not grasping a very important requirement for local or national water management, i.e., the need to bring agricultural water users to the table -- by force or persuasion. On the OECD panel on governance [1 hr 53 min 40MB MP3], I asked (at 1:27:20) how they were going to involve farmers. The response -- it seems -- would be by promoting transparency. I'm not sure how that's going to do any thing, as farmers are quite content to pursue business as usual -- perhaps assuming that they will get extra water or money when they overuse what they now have. You can also listen to another high level panel on governance that was more wishy-washy [1 hr 57 min 40MB MP3] during which I sometimes held the recorder to my headset to get the translated English.

  3. I was curious to see that a young group of French performers were very skilled at playing "corrupt manager awarding water concessions to the sexy lobbyist" game. Even more so -- mostly from Francophone Africa -- was able to participate with their own variations on corruption and how to tackle it.

  4. I agree with Aquadoc:
    The WWC does not make much of an attempt to engage in a retrospective examination of previous fora to determine whether the items discussed, the commitments made, the solutions proposed, etc. have had any effect. So as far as I can determine no one really knows whether the previous fora have done any good - other than providing a huge networking/showcasing opportunity. That's not good.
  5. The World Bank appears to be gearing up to waste vast amounts of money, ruin the environment and weaken water management -- this is NOT an April Fools joke! I'll post on that depressing development in the near future.