Water: GAIN, WEF and WWW Common Denominator


GAIN Founding CEO Dr. Daboub, second from left, tours a low-lying water area in Vietnam. See Vietnam in the GAIN Index.   

The Global Adaptation Institute (GAIN), World Water Week (WWW) and the World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Agenda Council on Climate Change are linked in several ways, but the most important nexus is water, said Dr. Juan José Daboub, GAIN Founding CEO and Chairman of the WEF Global Agenda Council on Climate Change. See the recent article HERE from ClimateWire’s Tiffany Stecker featuring Dr. Daboub.

World Water Week in Stockholm, Sweden, ended August 31. Decision makers are now returning home following a conversation about the world’s most important resource. 

“The one common denominator related to today’s challenges is directly linked to water,” Dr. Daboub said. “For countries, for companies, for human beings, water is really life.  Of these global organizations such as GAIN, WEF or WWW, each one needs to have water as the strongest component – both in terms of where there may be a lack of water, or an excess.”

Through his career experience, Dr. Daboub understands water challenges and the urgent need to implement pragmatic solutions – from his time in El Salvador’s government; as Managing Director of the World Bank from 2006 to 2010 when he was responsible for 110 countries in Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Latin America; and now at GAIN where data from 161 countries is assessed to create the GAIN Index. The Index is a navigation tool to help guide investment on building resilience around the world.

Water plays an integral role in the development of the GAIN Index, in terms of access, quality and exposure.

“Whether you are a think tank, a university or a corporation, you will need tools such as the GAIN Index to help measure how countries and communities are moving toward better resilience,” Dr. Daboub said.

The private sector contributes through the development of innovative technology such as at PepsiCo, which received a 2012 Stockholm Industry Water Award at WWW for its water stewardship initiatives. The solution is: Measure What Matters, Dr. Daboub said. To move forward strategically with water in the future, Dr. Daboub points to three solutions.

“If you cannot measure, it doesn’t exist and you don’t know how to tackle the problem,” Dr. Daboub said. “Recognize adaptation projects that are building resilience such as what we do with the GAIN Prize, which recognizes scalable, replicable and marketable work on the ground. Also, find practical solutions with civil society and the private sector that will help to save lives and improve livelihoods for people in the future.”

World water statistics:

With 2.5 billion people without water access, education and behavioral change is imperative. (World Bank)

Water sanitation is one of the most critical water issues for people in the future. It has long been considered the neglected sector. Water sanitation was added to the Millennium Development Goals not until 2002. Water sanitation effects health, economies, human rights and equality, and more. (World Bank)

An estimated 1.7 million people die each year because of unsafe water, lack of sanitation, and unhygienic practices; about 90 percent of those deaths are children under age five. (World Bank)

Climate change is predicted to have a whole range of impacts on water resources. Variation in temperature and rainfall may affect water availability, increase the frequency and severity of floods and droughts, and disrupt ecosystems that maintain water quality. (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change)

Climate variability, water resource management and economic development are intricately linked. Vulnerability to natural disasters affecting the water supply hampers economic performance and undermines poverty reduction goals and achievement of the MDGs. (World Water Assessment Programme)