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WaterFront Daily - Monday

WaterFront Daily -

STOCKHOLM waterfront world water week daily | MONDAY 27 AUGUST | 2018 Individual human development – or shared Marina Demaria Venancio makes the case for a technologydriven future. NATURAL DISASTER? TEXT | NICK CHIPPERFIELD PHOTO | THOMAS HENRIKSON Is ecosystem conservation fundamentally at odds with human development? That was the stark subject of the 2018 World Water Week debate session, which explored the key themes of this year’s Week: Water, Ecosystems and Human Development. Two teams of experts were pitted against each other in frequently vehement debate. The lively, well-attended session, part of the Young Professionals programme, was convened by Arup and SIWI, and chaired by Mark Fletcher, Global Water Leader at Arup. One team argued for the motion, the other demonstrated how human development and the responsible stewardship of natural resources could complement one another. “Improving the wellbeing of humans is a basic, basic growth model assumption […] to reduce poverty. Today, we have much less poverty than 10, 20, 30 years ago; and that is anchored in a very particular type of growth model that uses natural resources. We also know that technology has been able to solve many problems in areas where we have a lack of water,” Diego Rodriguez, from the World Bank, said. Similarly, Marina Demaria Venancio, PhD student at the Federal University of Santa Catarina, Brazil, outlined a more technology-focused future, where the natural world was less important, adding that research and innovation came at a cost. Amanda Janoo, Alternative Economic Policy Advisor at the UN, spoke about the individualistic nature of human development: “there is no limit to how much people want to consume, or how rich they want to be,” she said. Responding, Frederick Boltz, CEO of Resolute Development Solutions, argued that the fate of the human race is dependent on the world’s natural resources. “Humans are an endemic part of the natural ecosystems that sustain our planet Earth. We’re part of an ecosystem, and we thrive best within it. Humans have prospered throughout history by benefitting from nature,” he said. “The growth model uses natural resources to fuel human wellbeing and development. Why would we destroy them when they provide such wealth?” Boltz asked. Sunil Abeyasekera, Young Professionals for Agricultural Development, Sweden, presented a consensus position: “It’s not a choice between one or the other – they co-exist. Youth around the world are yearning for these capabilities and opportunities to conserve ecosystems. By investing in our human development, together we can begin to flourish.” WaterFront Daily is brought to you every day with fresh reports from the Week. http://www.world waterweek.org/ daily published by stockholm international water institute