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22nd March 2019

Scotland’s contribution to international water policy and research (Report)

On World Water Day in 2018, we held a workshop exploring Scotland’s contribution to international water policy development and research needs. This workshop brought together Scottish academics, practitioners and policy makers to share experiences in promoting the UN Sustainable Development Goal: “ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all” (SDG 6).

Barriers to implementation and recommendations to enable and accelerate progress towards achieving SDG 6 were discussed in four thematic breakout sessions:

  1. Waste Water Treatment Systems
  2. Water Resources Water Quality and Quality
  3. Drinking Water Supply and Technologies
  4. Future water challenges facing water 

Common high level outcomes and recommendations were identified across the four themes including:

  1. Appropriate data acquisition and reporting of the SDG 6 status; capacity building, and effective mechanisms to get research into practice. 
  2. Governance systems are  generally constrained by sectoral interests (i.e. top down and poorly connected to local needs). There should be improved training of water managers etc in how to use data in decision making  and policy development. Need to review weak legal frameworks.
  3. Knowledge and engagement with communities is the key to successfully attaining SDG 6 and achieving the behavioural change.
  4. Effective drinking water and waste water technologies need to be simple, with low infrastructure and maintenance costs and low energy inputs.

As a result, it was recommended that the Scottish Government seek support from the science community to achieve and monitor SDGs. This will open new challenges for research, partnerships, and opportunities to find solutions to complex development challenges.