The United Nations Environment Programme, which coordinates the Alliance, in collaboration with the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) hosted the Second Global Workshop of the World Water Quality Alliance (WWQA) in Ispra, Italy. The 2019 Global Workshop of the World Water Quality Alliance took place from September 16 to September 18. In what can be defined the launch of a new chapter in the Global Water Quality Community, 95 registered attendees from 30 countries and 62 organizations from supra-national to local level representing the public, private and research sectors, convened to organize the work plan of this highly-interdisciplinary and trans-sectorial community of practice. 

The objectives of the workshop were:

  • Take stock and discuss the way forward of ongoing Alliance activities such as the Africa Use Cases, the progress regarding the global baseline assessment and the work on plastics in freshwater
  • Agree on a roadmap regarding the official formalization of the Alliance and its governance by agreeing on rules for the election of Strategic and Technical Advisory Committees, gathering input from partners to finalize a declaration for Members of the World Water Quality Alliance and discussing the signing process for such a declaration
  • Draft a work plan for the Alliance for 2019 – 2020 with concrete commitments for contributions from partners within its various thematic focus areas (e.g. groundwater quality, health and cities, water quality and ecosystems etc.)
  • Deepen the exchange between Alliance partners by updating each other on ongoing workflows within their respective organizations and identifying potential topics and modes of cooperation
  • Discuss ways of improving outreach and mainstreaming ambient water quality into policy and decision making

The meeting concluded that the Alliance would provide governments and other stakeholders with relevant evidence-based assessment, scenarios, solutions and services on water quality issues. Globally, an estimated 80% of wastewater is released directly into water bodies without treatment.

"I am so pleased that UNEP has been able to catalyze the creation of the World Water Quality Alliance which brings diverse disciplines together to translate science on water quality into action. I cannot highlight enough the importance of the task at hand: because improving water quality is central to environmental sustainability and to ensuring healthy ecosystems, healthy people and a healthy planet," said Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme.

The Alliance will provide a baseline assessment of global water quality and will build on this with a continuous overview of global water quality and its drivers. It will also develop evidence-based products to inform improved global, regional and local water management. Facilitating a bottom-up approach to co-designing and developing products for mid- to long-term use and operationalization, its goal is to move data to knowledge to action with partners on the ground, jointly aiming at tackling the Global Water Crisis.