Unpacking Collective Action in water stewardship: Shared solutions for shared challenges

Posted on August, 18 2023

New joint paper addresses the urgent need and role that collective action can play in solving the global water crisis
Despite the efforts of passionate advocates and organizations, the fight to ensure sufficient water for people and nature is being lost. Freshwater biodiversity has declined by 83% since 1970, and billions of people still lack access to clean water and sanitation. Climate instability further worsens these challenges.
Simply working harder is not the solution. Instead, a new way of working together is needed to achieve scale and pace. The concept of collective action, where different organizations collaborate to deliver more impact, is proposed as a powerful approach. However, current efforts towards collective action have been fragmented to date.
The intention of this paper is to initiate a process of bringing together individuals, organizations, companies, public sector agencies, and civil society groups to work collectively as an ecosystem of freshwater solution providers. It emphasizes the importance of collaboration, systems thinking, and working with others.
The first drafts of this paper were presented at the UN Water Conference in New York earlier this year and then later versions at the Alliance for Water Stewardship Forum in Edinburgh. Stockholm Water Week represent a further widening of the socialisation of this paper. It is intended to spark further dialogue that will lead to bending the curve on freshwater biodiversity decline, creating a framework for climate change adaptation related to water, and fulfilling the vision of ensuring sufficient water for all.

The paper invites professionals to join this dialogue and contribute to the implementation of collective action in addressing shared water challenges. Feedback from conversations during Stockholm will be incorporated into the paper before it is finalised and published later in 2023.
This paper represents an invitation – an invitation to join those already involved in the drafting of this paper to shape our collective understanding of collective action.

Turkey's Buyuk Menderes river basin
© Cenk Oruc