UN 2023 Water Conference Side Events

Why are we here?

The 2022 Global Water Monitor report reveals that our global water resources are under increasing pressure. The growing world population needs more and more water for agriculture, industry and households, while global warming is changing both rainfall patterns and the water requirements of plants, people and ecosystems. Action on water is essential to address global challenges surrounding water including climate change, biodiversity loss, long-term food and energy security and care for vulnerable communities on Earth.

We, leaders of universities, scientific research, Indigenous knowledge practitioners and ecclesial bodies realise that we are at an inflection point, with life altering consequences and a responsibility to act. It is time to amplify Pope Francis’ call to “advance some broader proposals for dialogue and action which would involve each of us as individuals, and also affect international policy” (Laudato Si’, 15). Inspired to create life giving relationships with water and inspire people to do the same with the scoping of a series of societal dialogue events; beginning at the UN 2023 Water Conference in New York.

When healthy water flows biodiversity flourishes and human life flourishes. With an emphasis on the papal message in Laudato Si’, this event will ‘prepare the future’ through collaborative partnerships to deliver an integral ecological response to water from faith leaders and First Nations perspectives, scientific researchers and policymakers, universities, global networks, and communities.

Purpose of the events:

  • To share wisdom, understandings, experiences, case studies and insights by inviting community knowledge holders and practitioners including First Nations, scientists, and faith communities to be heard so that integral ecological and cultural perspectives inspire pathways and advocacy for water justice, including motivating voluntary commitments.
  • To invite First Nations and faith leaders, scientific and policymakers, universities, and global networks into societal dialogues where participation generates dialogical action with water. These societal dialogues events are designed to listen to the values of water with a broader audience by connecting a range of stakeholders from the global South and North through storytelling and dialogue generate transformative commitments for water action.

Who are we?

Our diverse group of partners include a range of sectors including educational institutions, faith organisations, First Nations communities, civil society groups and non-government organisations from more than one hundred and fifty different countries in the global South and North and with representatives at the side event from at least 6 nations. This side event proposal was initiated by the Food, Energy, Environment, Water Network (FE2W)- a group of leading experts from universities, multilateral organisations and nongovernment organisations committed to addressing the world’s food, energy, environment and water challenges. We are delighted that a diverse range of global partners have joined this initiative.

Global partners

Strategic Alliance of Catholic Research Universities – Vice Chancellor, Prof Zlatko Skrbis

Water Justice Hub Australia National University – Convenor, Professor Quentin Grafton

Franciscans International – Executive Director, Markus Heinze, OFM

Dominican Leadership Conference – UN Representative, Sr Durstyne Farnan, OP

Laudato Si’ Movement – Executive Director, Tomas Insua

Martuwurra Fitzroy Council – Chair, Professor Anne Poelina

Institute for Global Dialogue and Culture of Encounter – Director, Gabriele Sacco

Javeriana University, Bogota, Colombia

IBVM/CJ NGO – UN Representative, Sr Janet Palafox, IVBM

Vice-president of the Ecclesial Conference of the Amazon (CEAMA) and member of the University Program of the Amazon, Patricia Gualinga

Water Spirit, Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace – UN Representative, Executive Director, Blair Nelsen

Jesuit Justice and Ecology Network Africa – Research and Policy Analyst Bryan P. Galligan, SJ

Christian Life Community – Promoter in New York Region and World Executive Council member, Ann Marie Brennan

Australian Catholic University – Lead, Integral Ecology, Jacqui Remond

What is emerging in the process?

A new global framework for managing water and inspiring concrete action is emerging that could bring together a range of targets and priorities to enable water justice for people to live in healthy relationships. The proposal needs to be underscored by the values of fairness, equity, and sustainability to co-create a new global action agenda and charter for water.

Two Side Events

Event 1 – Scoping Solidarity, Societal Dialogues on Water Justice, 21 March 2023 – 3-5pm

This side event will begin with First Nations storytellers from different contexts:

  • First Nations Vice President of the Ecclesial Conference of the Amazon Patricia Gualinga (Equador) in person
  • First Nations Anglican Priest Glenn Loughrey (Murray-Darling River Basin, Australia), short film
  • First Nations Chair of the Martuwurra Council Prof Anne Poelina (Kimberley region, Australia), short film

We propose three in-person presentations offering their research on water justice and one pathway forward:

  • Professor Quentin Grafton, Director of FE2W Network, The Water Justice Hub and the Australian National University
  • Gabriela Sacco Director of the Institute of Global Dialogue and Culture of Encounter;
  • Fr Ben Ayodi OFM, Franciscans International and Laudato Si’ Movement, ‘Franciscanism, Water & Laudato Si’

The process will highlight the purpose of societal dialogues and the value of an integral approach that brings together science, faith, and Indigenous knowledges in the dialogue on water. The methodology and andragogy for these side events are framed within an Integral Ecology paradigm inspired by Laudato Si’ and adapted from Heron’s (1996) Cooperative Inquiry Cycle. Jacqui Remond, Prof Quentin Grafton and Dr Safa Fanaian are co-designing the process and will co-facilitate the societal dialogue event.

Event 2 – Scoping Solidarity, Film and Dialogue on Water 23 March, 3-5pm

The second side event will invite participants to experience watching the film ‘The Letter’. This 80-minute feature film will set the context and tone for paired dialogue followed by a plenary session that focuses on water justice and action. The Letter features Pope Francis in dialogue with four diverse voices from Brazil, Senegal, India and Hawaii. The process will invite an initial paired dialogue followed by a question on the key theme of water justice?

Jacqui Remond and Fr Ben Ayodi are co-facilitators of the second side event featuring film ‘The Letter’ which includes community stories from four diverse cultural and ecological contexts, reflection time and practitioners who value the interconnectedness of water. Dialogue will be invited after viewing the film.

Where will the side events take place?

Event 1

Date: Tuesday 21st March

Time: 15:00 -17:00pm

Register: here

Event 2

Venue for second side event: The Salvation Army Chapel

Date: Thursday 23rd March

Time: 15:00 -17:00pm.

Address: The Salvation Army – IHQ
International Social Justice Commission
221 E 52nd Street, New York,

NY 10022, USA