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UN 2023 Water Conference

Side Event

Water Security, Disasters, and Resilience in a Changing Climate: Challenges, Opportunities, and Solutions

12:30 - 13:45 | Friday March 24 | Room B | UN Headquarter | New York

Full Conference Program

Summary Report of the Side Event

Brought to You By

One Water & CIFAL York (York University), Urban Water (Toronto Metropolitan University), Stockholm International Water Institute, Congo Basin Water Resources Research Center, University of Kinshasa, Global Water Promise, mWater, Colorado Water Center (Colorado State University), and Newcastle University Centre for Water

Concept note

The impacts of global environmental degradation on freshwater security are felt by communities around the world limiting the availability, equitable access, and quality of freshwater supplies. These impacts are exacerbated by underlying social inequities and environmental stressors, including the increasing number and intensity of disastrous extreme weather events attributed to climate change. This side event aims to highlight some of the key challenges that water insecurity poses to communities in Canada and around the globe, including contextualizing legal, cultural, historical, political, scientific, technological, and Indigenous insights into: why hundreds of Indigenous communities in Canada continue to be unable to access clean drinking water in a country with over 9 million lakes and over 20% of the world’s freshwater supply, how to develop sustainable management plans for resources in the Congo Basin, and how to manage the water crisis in the Colorado basin. Moreover, we offer scientific, technological, and natural solutions to improve the resilience of freshwater systems, including the use of UV, advanced oxidation processes, and nanotechnology applied to water purification and water treatment in remote and Arctic communities, machine learning and artificial intelligence to maintain water quality, empowering women and providing education for children to safeguard water supplies, and developing policies around water cooperation across stakeholders and sectors. Our aim is to use our side event as an opportunity to contextualize trans-disciplinary research and lived experiences to shed light on freshwater security against the backdrop of global efforts to boost ambition, transdisciplinary, and cross-boundary action on adaptation to the impacts of planetary stressors on freshwater security.


Welcome Remarks

Speaker: Sapna Sharma, York University

Title: State of Scientific Knowledge on the Impacts of Climate Change on Freshwater System

Session 1: Challenges to Water Security in a Changing Climate:


Speaker: Swani Keelson, Global Water Promise

Title: Water insecurity, period poverty, and transactional sex

Speaker: Jessica Keeshig-Martin, York University

Title: Listening to Ninaatig, what is sweet water telling us?

Speaker: Dolleen Tisawii’ashii Manning, Queens University

Title: Emerging from the Water: Reconciling Indigenous and decolonial perspectives on water

Speaker: Mary Bunch, York University

Title: Emerging from the Water: Reconciling Indigenous and decolonial perspectives on water

Moderator: Sapna Sharma, York University

Session 2: Building Resilience to Water Security


Speaker: Dave Atkinson, Urban Water, Toronto Metropolitan University

Title: Inuit led research for healthy water in a changing Canadian Arctic

Speaker: Karin Gardes, Stockholm International Water Institute

Title: Stakeholder participation in water management

Speaker: Annie Feighery, mWater

Title: Innovative open-access data-driven management technologies to improve water sustainability

Patricia Elaine Perkins


Question and Answer Period

Moderator: Sapna Sharma, York University

Conclusions and Future Outlook

Patricia Elaine Perkins, York University



One WATER is an interdisciplinary research center dedicated to furthering research on water-related issues and finding strategic, integrated solutions to water challenges faced by communities in Canada and around the world. The “One WATER” combines expertise related to Water management, Artificial intelligence, Technologies, Education and sustainability, Resource recovery & reuse (WATER) to address pressing water-related issues using holistic and interdisciplinary approaches.

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CIFAL York is part of UNITAR's global network of training centers for knowledge-sharing, training, and capacity-building for leaders, local authorities, and civil society. Established in 2020 as a partnership between UNITAR, York University and York Region, CIFAL York started its operation in June 2021 as the first CIFAL Centre in Canada. CIFAL York is dedicated to serve as a hub for knowledge exchange and capacity building among government officials, the private sector, academia, and civil society. CIFAL York works towards a global outreach and positive change through bridging gaps and facilitating a range of inspirational training and research opportunities

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Stockholm International Water Institute

SIWI is a not-for-profit institute with a wide range of expertise in water governance – from sanitation and water resources management to water diplomacy. We create knowledge, develop capacity, and offer policy advice to countries, communities, and companies, educational, and societal implications.

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Congo Basin Water Resources Research Center

Based at the University of Kinshasa, the Congo Basin Water Resources Research Center, CRREBaC's mission is to contribute to the sustainable management and development of water resources in the Congo basin, through research to provide scientifically acceptable information and viable solutions to emerging water resource problems.

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mWater is a woman-owned small business with a non-profit arm for projects with international organizations and foundations, and a for-profit arm for US Government and private sector clients. Our staff includes senior experts with advanced degrees in environmental engineering, public health, and technology, allowing mWater to create innovative, data-driven management approaches for our partners and all users of the free mWater technology platform. 

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Global Water Promise

Global water promise is an international nonprofit working in developing countries to bring water, sanitation and hygiene to the most vulnerable populations.

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Colorado Water Center, Colorado State University

The Colorado Water Center (CoWC) brings together the work of the Colorado Water Institute and the CSU Water Center. The CoWC serves to lead interdisciplinary research, education, and engagement to address today’s most pressing water issues in Colorado and beyond, and connect diverse water stakeholders to resources and expertise.

The Colorado Water Center is one of 54 Water Resources Research Institutes created by the Water Resources Act of 1964, which collectively form the National Institutes for Water Resources.

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Newcastle University Centre for Water

We are a transdisciplinary centre of excellence in water research. Our mission is to deliver the solutions needed to improve water security, now and in the future. We work from the local to the global scale. We draw upon and embed interdisciplinary expertise and methodologies. Newcastle University has a 70-year history of water-related research, teaching and innovation.

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Urban Water, Toronto Metropolitan University

Urban Water TMU is a multidisciplinary consortium of researchers who strive to solve complex urban water challenges through transdisciplinary research, strong external networks, and collaborative action. 

The Centre comprises researchers and students from across 6 faculties and 13 departments from the natural sciences and engineering, to policy landscapes, to social science arenas.

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