UNESCO has just published a new strategic plan for G-WADI, titled G-WADI: The Way Forward. The publication is available at unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0025/002594/259497e.pdf . The lead author is Dr. Wouter Buytaert of Imperial College, London.
This paper gives a condensed overview of the achievements of G-WADI including the developments of tools and platforms to assist water managers during hydrologic extremes, as well as capacity-building efforts undertaken to date. It also notes G-WADI’s strengths as a global network supporting the science-policy interface, and catalyzing high-level research to address water management issues with direct relevance at the local level of management, planning, and policy. It then provides a critical reflection of the challenges that face G-WADI as well as new opportunities within the changing landscape of scientific research, water management and policymaking of arid and semi-arid zones.
The report makes clear that the regional networks play a crucial role in the future success of G-WADI, noting that “Through their network and connections to local policy, they are best placed to identify specific bottlenecks for a sustainable development of arid and semi-arid regions. As such, they should set the agenda and ensure that the scientific process is optimally demand-driven, and is turned into tools and products that address those local demands”. The regional centers are also well placed to identify training opportunities as well as by identifying common interests and priorities among regional centers and networks.
The report suggests that G-WADI engage in new scientific trends, such as the hydrology-society interactions identified in IAHS’ Panta Rhei decade—for the science itself, but also as a pathway to increasing the societal relevance and impact of G-WADI research and training. Another trend to engage is the increasing interest in participatory approaches, grassroots initiatives and citizen science. With the increasing availability and adoption of information, communications and mobile technologies, existing or new G-WADI tools could leverage these technologies and provide a broader range of climate services.
These endeavors will require mobilization of additional financial and other resources by identifying funding opportunities within the scope of G-WADI’s priorities, and the assembling of international consortia of scientists and end-users to formulate successful proposals.