Implications of the Budapest Water Summit 2016 for water governance and democracy



© Ferenc Cakó’s sand animation performance at the BWS 2016: Water Connects

The theme of the Budapest Water Summit 2016 was that Water Connects across all aspects of sustainable development and across geographies. But to ensure against future conflict and scarcity, the messages and recommendations from the event also highlight how we need to rethink and create governance models within and across countries. There are some profound implications for how democracies, as well as other political approaches, manage and negotiate these interconnections.

The main areas for governance and policy challenges are:

  • Ensuring effective transboundary arrangements to avoid conflict and ensure water sustainability
  • Increasing policy coherence to avoid water availability, ecosystems and sanitation being treated in isolation
  • Enabling multi-level governance to co-ordinate between local, national and international action and frameworks
  • Engaging multiple stakeholders, including young people, the most vulnerable and local people, in all decisions and implementation.

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