Raising Awareness of Civil Society in Achieving Water Security and Water Goals within 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in Amman, Jordan
The workshop investigated complementary themes: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular SDG6 on Water and Sanitation, and Water Security and the Water, Energy and Food Nexus (WEF). Over 20 participants from CSOs and other interested civil society actors participated in the event, which aimed to raise awareness in understanding and approaching the SDGs and the water security concept as well as to support cooperation and dialogue between civil society and other actors active in the water sector.
Ms. Katrin Aidnell, Regional Programme Manager environment, climate change, water, renewable energy and food security at the Embassy of Sweden to Jordan, welcomed the participants and wished them a fruitful meeting. She also presented the commitment of the Government of Sweden, who is funding WATER SUM among other projects, to strengthen regional cooperation, democracy, human rights work, gender equality, sustainability and climate protection, economic integration and trade across the MENA Region
A stage-setting presentation introduced the centrality of water within the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and provided crucial information about the sustainable development process post-2015. Specific attention was granted to SDG 6 (Ensure access to water and sanitation for all) and its cross-cutting nature, along with its inclusiveness. This session also allowed participants to better understand the collaborative nature of the SDGs and the importance of multi-level, inter-institutional and inter-institutional stakeholder engagement and dialogue to achieve the set SDG targets.
A specific slot was dedicated to the presentation of results and impact of the small-grants program for civil society supported by WATER SUM. The actions carried out focused on capacity building, awareness raising, engagement of women, marginalized groups and youth, and synergism with other water-related projects and programs.
The second session discussed the role and engagement of civil society in Jordan towards the challenge of pushing for inclusive civil society participation at all levels to help achieving water-related development and SDG 6 targets, in the context of promoting a transformational approach to SDG implementation that accelerates collaborative knowledge creation and collective action and shifts the political-economic-environmental vision of our future.
The participants stressed how SDGs - and especially SDG6 given the critical water scarcity situation in Jordan - cannot be achieved if the public is considered as a mere, passive spectator to the process. Plans that encourage pro-activeness and inclusiveness should be developed to boost the engagement and understanding of all communities in achieving the SDG targets. The SDG process should also represent a watershed moment in creating the critical mass that can spur a crucial transformational approach to the three pillars of sustainable development (social, economic, environmental) across the Jordanian society.
Participants then split into three small working groups to create a moment of dialogue aimed at understanding the the role and responsibility of Civil Society connected to SDG achievement. The groups recognized the following points for further elaboration:
- Enhancing cooperation among CSOs active in Jordan should be encouraged in order to minimize overlaps and to pool resources for supporting the fulfillment of SDG6 targets and connected SDGs (e.g. SDG4 on education, SDG5 on gender equality, SDG13 on climate change).
- Women and marginalized groups should contribute actively to implementing the SDGs. Their engagement should be encouraged by promoting the strong impact that the global goals - when translated into tangible actions - have on their daily life.
- The knowledge gap in public awareness on SDGs should be bridged by presenting the SDGs as means to translate theory into action on the ground. Moreover, creating inclusive partnerships that include public representatives can support changing public perspective and behavior as well as developing champions that can act as agents of change.
- Additional funding opportunities can be sought by looking outside of the traditional mechanisms and by trying to promote partnerships with different players such as social entrepreneurs.
- CSOs should evaluate and monitor their SDG-related actions by using measurable indicators and they should also consider sharing their results with other players active in the SDG implementation process.
The following session on Water Security and the Water Agenda presented an integrated approach to water security that contributes to efforts to combat water scarcity, reduce the threat of conflict, halt environmental degradation and increase human wellbeing. Moreover, it helped discussing the role and engagement of civil society in Tunisia in contributing to reaching water security on the national level.
The Working Groups Session
After the Working Groups Session, the REC team introduced the WATER POrT E-Practicum – a data-base-like online tool, including a collection of good practices on water scarcity and drought management that can offer valuable lessons and prospects of repeatability.
The workshop ended on the note that the civil society can greatly contribute to the SDG process by promoting innovative and cross-cutting ideas and solutions as well as by supporting the institutions and other players in addressing the water scarcity and water efficiency challenges that the country is facing.