Beyond Basic Services: Rethinking the Values, Functions & Management of Water in our Cities


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  • DATE / TIME:
    2016•10•18    14:30 - 16:00

    On 18 October 2016, UNU-IAS and UN-Habitat will jointly organize the event Beyond Basic Services: Rethinking the Values, Functions, and Management of Water in our Cities, as an official side event of the UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (HABITAT III) in Quito, Ecuador. Considering water issues in the context of the New Urban Agenda that is to be adopted at HABITAT III, the side event will discuss how this bold agenda can be realised, and the policies and actions that will be needed.


    Water provides essential basic services in cities, supporting the health and dignity of urban populations, enabling social integration and economic activity. Yet as urbanization intensifies and the changing climate modifies the water cycle, sustainability objectives oblige us to seriously shift the way water is valued and managed in cities. Beyond basic services, waters’ value as a feature of the urban landscape, a provider of ecological services, public space, or as a wildlife habitat also need to be embraced. Waters’ uses at different grades of quality, offering potential sources of energy, nutrients and services like cleaning and cooling must also be seized. The way water shapes and itself is influenced by urban planning and design needs to better considered in light of both over-abundance and scarcity. Depending on how it is managed in cities, water can be a threat or a salvation, an eyesore or an asset, an unwanted waste or a valuable resource, a transmitter of sickness or a source of good health. Seizing the better outcomes depend on a richer appreciation of water in cities and a more proactive approach to the linkages between urban and water management.

    The New Urban Agenda, in presenting an aspirational vision for cities, embraces many of the values and roles that water must play in a sustainable urban environment, upholding – but also going beyond – the need to ensure universal access to water and sanitation as Human Rights and essential basic services.

    The event flyer is available to download.


    This event is open to the public, but please visit the official website for registration


    14:30–15:00 Introduction and Framing

    Session Chair: Andre Dzikus, Coordinator, Urban Basic Services Branch of UN-Habitat


    • Faraj El-Awar, Head, Global Water Operators’ Partnerships Alliance
    • Kensuke Fukushi, Visiting Professor, UNU-IAS

    15:00–16:00 Panel Discussion

    Moderator: Francois Brikke, Senior Networking Officer, Global Water Partnership


    • Luis Tejada, Director, Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation
    • Hakan Tropp, Director, Water Governance, Stockholm International Water Institute
    • Rosa Pavanelli, General-Secretary, Public Services International
    • Kensuke Fukushi
    • Merce Conesa, President, Diputació de Barcelona
    • Marco Antonio Cevallos Varea, General Manager, EMPAPS, Aguas de Quito

    For more information about UNU and Habitat III, please visit the UNU website.

    * * * *
    This side event is part of the UNU-IAS Water and Urban Initiative, a project contributing to sustainable urban development in Asia by creating scientific tools and building capacities for improving urban water environments.

  • Beyond Basic Services - HABITAT III

    (1.2 MB PDF)

  • Room A One UN Pavilion
    Quito, Ecuador