Achieving Sustainable Water Futures in an Uncertain World

GWF2021 Themes and Cross-Cutting Challenges and Opportunities

GWF2021 will continue building on the themes of GWF2020. The themes provide the context for the overall program and encourage interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary dialogue and research co-creation. The themes are underpinned by cross-cutting challenges and opportunities that further emphasize solutions across sectors and stakeholders.


Climate-driven changes of water environments in cold regions

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This theme will examine how climate change will shape future water security in cold regions. Addressing the projected changes in hydrology, biogeochemical cycles and ecological functions, this theme will explore the cascading impacts of climate change in cold environments and propose adaptive and integrated management solutions.


From anthropogenic pressures to ecosystem services

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This theme will examine the complex interactions between human activities and ecosystem services. Addressing a range of interconnected issues related to anthropogenic disturbances of water environments, this theme will explore the impacts on the state and function of aquatic ecosystems, and the responses required to safeguard and restore the services they provide.


Turning research into policy and management solutions

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This theme will explore options for translating water research, from the natural, social and health sciences, into concrete and relevant policy and management solutions. Addressing how to effectively respond to water risks and adapt in the face of uncertainty, this theme will examine how adopting new or improved practices and tools enhances evidence-based policy and decision-making.


Innovations in water science and technology

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This theme will examine advances in water science and technology and the challenges facing knowledge mobilization and technology transfer. Addressing the increased need for and access to data-supported information and advanced analytics, this theme will explore innovations in the collection and use of environmental data and the potential to revolutionize decision-making for water management.  


Knowledge co-creation with Indigenous communities

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This theme will examine the role of Indigenous co-led and co-produced research in shaping a shared water future. Addressing the need for inclusive solutions and policies that reflect different knowledge systems, this theme will explore co-created research, the co-learning of different knowledges, and the experience of different communities working together towards shared water management solutions.

The themes are supported by the following cross-cutting challenges and opportunities:

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- Transferable knowledge and tools

- Predictive modelling and forecasting

- (Big) data science and management

- Social, economic and health determinants and impacts

- Stakeholder engagement and knowledge mobilization