Water Megacities and global change
The International Conference Water, Megacities and Global Changes, the first conference devoted to the theme of water in megacities, will be hosted by UNESCO in its Paris HQ, December 1st to 4th – 2015, during the first week of the COP21.
Since 2011 and for the first time in its history, the world population as a whole is now mainly concentrated in urban centers. In 2025, more than one billion people will be living in about one hundred very large cities. Megacities, those cities with more than 10 million people, are multiplying rapidly.
Beyond demographic issues, climate change in these megacities will require very important measures for adaptation and profound transformations to avert potential coming crises like: access to water and sanitation for all, service equity, economic viability, solutions flexibility, and innovative response to unprecedented evolutions.
Specific water issues in megacities
The concentration in megacities of populations, streams, services and goods amplifies the consequences of water related risks: large-scale flooding, insufficient resources, environmental pollution, and multiplication of dangers as a result of climate change. The many different management scales inevitably render more complex the water governance of these territories. In parallel, these large territories concentrate scientific potential, technics, operational skills, economic capacity and human resources that render possible the emergence of innovating solutions in domains like technology, organization, economy, or culture.
The gathering of water management actors for thinking, comparing, sharing and doing
The conference will bring together several types of public stakeholders:
- Scientists who contribute to knowledge development;
- Public and private operators who promote technical and socio-political innovations for the benefit of users and customers and
- Elected officials, representatives of international institutions and of NGOs who support policies for more efficiency and better environmental justice.
In this context, the ambition of the conference is to launch a network of cooperative megacities with a view to fostering water issues. Megacities elected officials present at the conference will sign a declaration recognizing major water issues and launching a collaboration process based upon expertise-sharing and on the premises of future relevant public policies.
Baseline for the call for papers
The conference will articulate two main approaches:
- The analysis of key water related elements relevant for maintaining and reinforcing the balance of these mega urban systems, within the context of climate change.
- The presentation of means, methods and tools adapted to the water management in megacities and capable of resolving the related problems.
The themes of the conference follow in the line of specific issues consistent with the very place of water in megacities.