The International Symposium took place at UNESCO’s headquarters in Paris on 28-30 September 2016 and was co-organized by the EU HORIZON 2020 FREEWAT project and UNESCO (partner of the project) on the occasion of the FREEWAT project mid-term meeting.
The workshop’s title was “Fostering inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work (SDG#8) through ICT job creation tools for ensuring water security (SDG#6)”.
The Objectives of the international symposium were to discuss how using Information and Communication Technology Tools (ICT) in the water sector may help in reaching the Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG#6) related targets with an emphasis on creating synergies with the EU HORIZON 2020 Research and Innovation Programme.
The symposium explored how UNESCO’s IHP HOPE play a concrete role in achieving the SDGs by providing a free and open alternative to the commercially specialized engineering software in the field of hydrology such as Conjunctive Water Management, etc.
The event encouraged linkages between SDG#6: “Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all” and SDG#8: “Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all” with a focus on fostering Innovative Job Creation and building the capacity of Young Water Professionals to facilitate improved adaptation to global change.
According to the 2016 United Nations World Water Development Report, Water and Jobs, three out of four of the jobs worldwide are water-dependent. Furthermore, water shortages and lack of access may limit economic growth in the years to come. In many countries water problems are largely due to inadequate human and institutional capacities at different levels, rather than to the scarcity of freshwater resources. There are three main challenges in this area: the insufficient number of adequately trained professionals, the need to extend water education to all stakeholders, and the need to strengthen the quality of education systems at all levels. In some countries, there is a big skills mismatch of skills required and skills available in the water sector. One major reason for the difficulty experienced by employers when filling entry-level positions in the water sector is skill shortages. UNESCO views water Education as instrumental in addressing this gap and in ensuring universal access to water.