As highlighted across the SDGs, key gaps in sustainable and equitable water access require looking at what happens beyond the watershed, thinking about inclusive participatory approaches, climate-oriented actions, the macroeconomic impacts around water, and consideration for ecosystems.

To address these gaps, we have invited panelists from different geographies and professional backgrounds, from the local to the government level, to share their experiences and best practices, and discuss what could be our joint next steps to fulfill the Water Action Agenda. Focused on the Interactive Dialogue 3 “Water for Climate, Resilience and Environment” from a cross-sector and a multi-country perspective, our panelists will be discussing the following action points:

  1. Foster collaboration beyond the watershed: Sustainable water management should reach beyond the watershed, with participatory processes based not only on one location. To foster cooperation, the global community will need to consider the economies bound to the watershed on any side of a given border.
  2. Maintain ecosystem health and implement the source-to-sea approach: Ecosystems should be considered throughout the water management and planning process. For this, we need approaches that incorporate ecosystem needs and processes as well as a source-to-sea approach that recognizes the links between land, freshwater and the ocean.
  3. Increase knowledge exchange and inclusive decision-making: Collaborative and inclusive engagement in water management delivers more effective long-term outcomes. For this, we need to enable policymakers to see not only watershed-wide water demand and supply, but also smaller-scale differences that illuminate inequalities, addressing issues of poverty, gender, and inclusion of marginalized groups.

Our invited panelists are committed to achieving SDG 6 and have partnered with SEI in previous and ongoing initiatives, such as the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), Bolivia WATCH program (WASH Thinking Connected to Hydrology, applied to three priority river basins in Bolivia—Upper La Paz, Pampa-Huari and Tupiza), Water Beyond Boundaries initiative (with case studies in Colombia’s Magdalena-Cauca River basin and Thailand’s Lower Songkhram River, a tributary of the Mekong River), Rwanda’s hydro-economic and climate change analysis (HECCA) supported by the World Bank, USAID Regional Water and Vulnerable Environment Activity in Central AsiaSEI’s Strategy for the Ocean and Biodiversity, and ecosystem consideration in water planning and management in California.

Our 75-min in-person side event inside the UN Headquarters will be structured with panels and discussions, as follows:


Opening Remarks by Dr. Marisa Escobar, Water Program Director at the Stockholm Environment Institute (5 minutes)

Followed by three 20-min panels:

  • Panel 1 ‘Foster collaboration beyond the watershed’ (20 minutes)

Moderated by Dr. Annette Huber-Lee, Senior Scientist at the Stockholm Environment Institute


Dr. Emmanuel Rukundo, Director General at Rwanda Water Resources Board (TBC)

Ms. Joy Busolo, Senior Water Resources Management Specialist at the World Bank

Mr. Thanapon Piman, Senior Research Fellow at the Stockholm Environment Institute

  • Panel 2 ‘Maintain ecosystem health and implement the source-to-sea approach’ (20 minutes)

Moderated by Dr. Marisa Escobar, Water Program Director at the Stockholm Environment Institute


Mr. Grant Davis, General Manager at California’s Sonoma Water Utility, United States

Dr. Johan Kling, Head of Department for Water Resources Management at the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management​

Dr. David Lymer, Deputy Head of Unit, Senior Water, Sanitation and Ocean Policy Specialist at Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) (TBC)

  • Panel 3 ‘Increase knowledge exchange and inclusive decision-making’ (20 minutes)

Moderated by Ms. Cláudia Coleoni, Research Associate at the Stockholm Environment Institute


Mr. Fabián Caicedo, Director of Integrated Water Resources Management at Colombia’s Ministry of the Environment and Sustainable Development

Ms. Marissa Castro, Director General of Limits, Borders and International Transboundary Waters at Bolivia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Mrs. Rayén Quiroga, Head of the Water and Energy Unit, Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC/CEPAL)

  • Closing Remarks (10 minutes)

Dr. Karina Barquet, Senior Research Fellow and Team Lead Water Coasts and Ocean at the Stockholm Environment Institute

Ms. Maria Vink, Senior Program Specialist, Water Security, Department for International Organizations and Policy Support at Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida)

SEI’s mission is to support decision-making and induce change toward sustainable development around the world by providing integrative knowledge that bridges science, policy and practice in the field of environment and development. We are committed to advancing with the Water Action Agenda and continuing the stakeholder dialogues across sectors, geographies, and scales beyond the UN 2023 Water Conference. Read about SEI’s commitment and Water Actions.

Closeup shot of a man holding his hands under a stream of water outdoors. Photo: PeopleImages / Getty

Close-up shot of a man holding his hands under a stream of water outdoors. Photo: PeopleImages / Getty

Event Details

Date & time
Thursday, March 23, 17:00 – 18:15.

Side Event, Conference Room C, UN Headquarters
New York, NY 10017, United States.