Water Trend Observatory

Client

adelphi consult GmbH, Berlin (for the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, SDC)

Mission

The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), through the Global Programme Water (GPW), aims to develop solutions to emerging global water challenges through policy dialogue and the promotion of innovation and increased knowledge sharing. GPW hosts the thematic network RésEAU, which brings together a wide range of water experts, including staff from the various SDC departments, their implementing partners, and government representatives. The main task of RésEAU is to aggregate and make use of the broad knowledge of the SDC's water network. In this context, it was the task of the Bureau für Zeitgeschehen (as a subcontractor of adelphi consult) to set up a "Water Trends Observatory", i.e. an early warning system to identify trends affecting long-term water security in different regions of the world.

Task

The Bureau für Zeitgeschehen (BfZ) has analyzed more than two dozen megatrends and built an analytical framework to assess the impact of these trends on the water sector and water security. The in-depth analysis includes the following trends: Demographic change, mobility, migration, urbanization, growth of the global middle class and changing consumption patterns, increasing inequality, public health, climate change, natural resource consumption, (de-)globalization, de-carbonization, circular economy, data economy (Big Data) / information and communication technologies (Internet of Things, automation, artificial intelligence), bio-technologies, new materials, geo-engineering, failing states and fragile statehood, polycentrism and geopolitics, social media and the individualization / radicalization of politics and political participation, cyber-security, securitization of sectoral policies (water, energy, biodiversity).

Results

The whole project served to strengthen the policy dialogue to promote innovation and increased knowledge sharing by international water experts, among others, in the framework of the thematic network RésEAU, which brings together a large number of them, including staff from the different SDC departments, their implementing partners, as well as government representatives. The main task of RésEAU is to gather the broad knowledge of the SDC's water network and make it usable. The "Water Trend Observatory" developed by the BfZ keeps the community informed about new trends and innovative approaches and helps to integrate them effectively into the events and activities of the RésEAU network.