(Stockholm, 26 August 2011) – The UN Global Compact’s CEO Water Mandate, in partnership with the Pacific Institute, this week convened its eighth multi-stakeholder working conference since the launch of the initiative in 2007.
The conference, which took place in Stockholm as part of 2011 World Water Week, drew approximately 100 leading experts and practitioners from business, finance, civil society, government, the UN, and other interests.
The CEO Water Mandate – an initiative launched and endorsed by the UN Secretary-General – holds two multi-stakeholder conferences per year to advance the initiative’s three priority workstreams (water disclosure; public policy; and human rights) as well as other projects. The Mandate recently launched pilot collective action projects in river basins in Viet Nam and Cambodia focusing on water stewardship practices in the apparel industry and related supply chains. The Mandate is also scoping a collective action project in South Africa.
The first session of the Stockholm conference, held in collaboration with the Alliance for Water Stewardship, focused on “Measuring and Disclosing Water Stewardship Practice” and featured a number of multi-stakeholder panels and discussions. The Mandate is currently developing a set of Global Water Disclosure Guidelines in partnership with several stakeholder groups.
The second session, held with the Institute for Human Rights and Business, focused on “Business and the Human Right to Water and Sanitation”. The session featured multi-stakeholder panels and discussions addressing how companies can ensure that their operations are in accordance with the human right to water and sanitation. The CEO Water Mandate is believed to be the only business-oriented water initiative that has explicitly incorporated the 2010 UN Resolutions on the human right to water and sanitation. The Mandate began to focus on the topic of the human right to water in early 2009. Since then the Mandate has produced two white papers on the topic, and is currently developing Operational Guidance for companies, in partnership with Oxfam.
“The CEO Water Mandate continues to actively evolve its workstreams and projects”, said Gavin Power, Deputy Director of the UN Global Compact, and Head of the CEO Water Mandate. “It is critical that the international community begins to fully address the escalating water crisis, which is not just an environmental issue but a development, economic, and human rights issue. Severe water stress in many parts of the word, combined with worsening water quality and poor sanitation, must be seen as top policy concerns, and should also be connected to other key sustainability issues such as energy and food security. The Rio Earth Summit in 2012 will provide an important forum to advance these concepts and hopefully scale up solutions”.
A full report of the working conference will be issued in the coming weeks. The conference was sponsored by Tata Steel, Nike, and ABInBev.