On 20th and 21st February 2019, the Mid-Term Conference of all 12 GROW-projects took place in Frankfurt am Main, Germany.
In an animated keynote speech on “The critical role of SDG6 to achieve the 2030 Agenda – State of Affairs and Knowledge Gaps,” the Director of the UNESCO World Water Assessment Programme, Prof Stefan Uhlenbrook, stressed the importance of understanding the SDGs as being connected rather than ranked. Whilst acknowledging the good work and progress of all projects, he also had a clear warning for his audience with regard to the achievement of SDG 6, “Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all” by 2030: “the world is not on track.” He further pointed to the 80% of countries not improving fast enough in order to keep up with their development, calling for country-based agendas, and underlined the importance of the continued joint GROW research effort – with its 12 projects covering various different countries.
An estimated 200 participants followed Dr Leif Wolf’s (PTKA) encouragement to engage in open discussions, shared their project results and findings with an engaged audience, and actively contributed to the symbiosis of the projects in five smaller Breakout Sessions:
- GRoW transfer-region Africa
- GRoW transfer-region Latin-America
- Digitalisation- opportunities for implementing SDG 6
- Water quality as a challenge for achieving SDG 6
- Water-use efficiency, sustainability guidelines, water footprint
The team identified manifold opportunities for ensuring lasting project results, including Trade Fairs and Symposia, but also pointed to the importance of engaged local partners and defining clear transfer strategies and target groups.
In his concluding remarks, Prof Uhlenbrook once more emphasized the great impact that the GROW research projects, in their entirety, can have toward the achievement of SDG6 and as such, to the achievement of many other SDGs strongly interlinked with SDG6. He outlined how GROW helps to increase government capacity, and to link the local and the global action towards a better world.