WWF at World Water Week

August 16-22, 2009 <br> Stockholm, Sweden


Establishing standards for water use and good stewardship

At World Water Week – an annual meeting that brings together experts, practitioners, decision makers and leaders from around the globe to exchange ideas and develop solutions – WWF and partners announced the launch of the Global Water Roundtable, the first step in a process to establish voluntary global standards for water stewardship.  The goal is to address the threat of water stress, the increasing pollution of rivers and the decline of freshwater wildlife species.  

Hear about water directly from WWF experts at World Water Week.

The Road to Copenhagen and Beyond

Let's take two scenarios.  On the 18th of December, the world walks away with a new global deal on climate change.  The agreement includes progressive emissions targets for rich countries, nationally appropriate mitigation strategies for developing countries and financing adaptation. Alternatively, on the 18th of December the negotiations finally break down, no deal is struck and world leaders walk away with nothing.  What are the implications of these scenarios on the water sector?  We are joined in the studio by Petra Kjell (Progressio), John Matthews (WWF) and Hannah Stoddart to find out more.  Listen in here.

Water Footprints

The western world has an insatiable thirst for water.  The concept of 'water footprints' has shown that Americans consumer over 6800 litres of virtual water every day, over triple that of a Chinese person.  But, what is a water footprint? And how does a water footprint translate into policy-making?  And is there any evidence that it is changing the way that businesses value water?  We catch up with Dan Bena (PepsiCo); Chris Williams (WWF) and Guy Howard (DFID) to find out more...

Conflicts and Borders

Are we really heading for an era of "hydrological warfare" in which rivers and lakes become national security assets to be fought over, or controlled through armed forces?  Or, can water act as a force for peace and cooperation?  Hannah Stoddart is joined in the studio by Dr. Patricia Wouters, Director of the International Water Law Research Institute at Dundee University; Flavia Loures from International Water Law and Policy at WWF; and Munqeth Mehyar from Friends of the Earth in the Middle East.  Listen in here.

Climate Change and Fresh Water

In our first episode of Water Pioneers we caught up with John Matthews, a climate change adaptation expert with WWF, to find out more about his work, his motivations and his hopes for the future.  Tune in here.

Podcasts made available by the Global Public Policy Network on Water Management (GPPN)

The Global Water Roundtable will provide a powerful new tool to improve the way water is managed by establishing rigorous, realistic water stewardship standards.  The Roundtable's primary objective is to bring together stakeholders from government, science and industry to establish a clear set of standards and a certification system for efficient and sustainable water use.
The Roundtable is being organized through the Alliance for Water Stewardship and its organizing members, which include WWF, the Pacific Institute, The Nature Conservancy, Water Witness International, The Water Stewardship Initiative, the Water Environment Federation and the European Water Partnership.

In conjunction with the announcement, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) also accepted a four-year $1 million grant from JohnsonDiversey, Inc. to support this groundbreaking work, which is being convened through the Alliance for Water Stewardship.

READ the announcement here.

DOWNLOAD the water roundtable FAQ.


Water is taken for granted by those for whom access to it is as easy as a trip to the kitchen sink. But, in fact, we are facing a deepening crisis of freshwater resources. 

Freshwater fast facts

This crisis is humanitarian, economic, and ecological. By 2025, two-thirds of the world's population could be facing serious water shortages. The continuing degradation of watersheds and destruction of wetlands deprives communities of billions of dollars in food, goods and services every year. Freshwater species are disappearing faster than any other.  In 2007, an exhaustive survey failed to find a living baiji, a river dolphin native to the Yangtze River.  This could signal the first extinction of a cetacean species caused by human activity.  

Freshwater biodiversity is central to most of WWF's priority places, and healthy freshwater ecosystems are vital to the people that live in them.   

WWF is working globally to:

  • Bring cutting-edge science to bear on the problem of preserving the ecological health of rivers and lakes across the globe
  • Protect and sustainably manage more than 600 million acres (about 250 million hectares) of representative wetlands by 2010
  • Promote policies and practices of government and the private sector that conserve water and improve water quality, securing the benefits of healthy, flowing rivers for people and nature.
The Watery Road to Copenhagen: Expectations from the Water Community for Climate Change Negotiations

Click the image to watch the video
Video credit: John Matthews on Vimeo.

Change the Way You Think. About Everything.

Click the latte to watch the movie.

Scientists estimate that the total number of Mekong giant catfish have decreased by around 90% in the last decade.
© Zeb HOGAN / WWF-Canon

Species spotlight: Mekong giant catfish

The world's largest freshwater fish, the Mekong giant catfish is distinguished by the near-total lack of whisker-like barbels, the absence of teeth and its gigantic size. The fish grows quickly and can reach over 660 pounds and up to 10 feet in length, approximately the size of a grizzly bear. Among the numerous endemic fish species in the Mekong, the giant catfish is one of the most imperiled. Learn why, and what WWF is doing to save this river giant.

Cutting-edge science

WWF’s Conservation Science Program draws on powerful insights from biology, hydrologyand the social sciences to create new and effective approaches for protecting biodiversity. Our scientists track emerging issues and lead regional and global analyses to identify and set priorities for conserving the world’s valuable habitats and species. The results inform and direct all WWF programs, including our work on freshwater conservation.


A collaborative effort between WWF and The Nature Conservancy, Freshwater Ecoregions of the World (FEOW) creates the first-ever comprehensive map and database describing the world’s freshwater biodiversity. Encompassing virtually all of the Earth’s freshwater systems, the map and associated species data are vital tools for conservationists working to save the world’s freshwater ecosystems. Learn more.

The Rules of the Game: Water and Public Policy

Read WWF's Water Security Series.  The reports explore water allocation in regions of scarcity, climate adaptation, risk of water scarcity to business and government, and maintaining connectivity of river systems.

Working with Business on Water

In 2008, the Coca-Cola Company, in partnership with World Wildlife Fund (WWF), announced ambitious new targets to improve water efficiency and reduce carbon emissions within its system-wide operations, while promoting sustainable agricultural practices and helping to conserve the world’s most important freshwater basins.

The partnership, announced by WWF and The Coca-Cola Company in 2007 with $20 million in funding, has now been extended an additional two years (through 2012) with the Company providing $3.75 million in new funding.  Read more about The Coca-Cola Company’s and WWF’s work together

The HSBC Climate Partnership aims to combat the urgent threat of climate change by inspiring action by individuals, businesses and governments worldwide. Working with WWF and other partners, HSBC hopes to counter climate change impacts for people, water, forests and cities. Goals include:

  • Helping to protect some of the world’s major rivers - the Pantanal, Ganges, Yangtze and Thames - from the impacts of climate change
  • Creating 'climate champions' worldwide who will undertake field research and bring back valuable knowledge and experience to their communities
  • Conducting the largest field experiment on the world's forests to measure carbon and the effects of climate change

Water footprinting is being increasingly used to understand the total amount of water that supports our lifestyles - the water used to create clothes we wear, the food we eat and beverages we drink.  At this year's Stockholm Water Week, SABMiller and WWF, two members of the Water Footprint Network, published a report which explains the water footprint of SABMiller's beers in South Africa and the Czech Republic.

SABMiller and WWF are working together on water footprinting to better understand the quantity, efficiency and geographical context of water used to produce beer in order that this resource can then be better managed.  A water footprint encompasses the entire value chain, from crop cultivation and processing, through to brewing and distributing the beer and details the total water input, both direct and indirect.  DOWNLOAD the report here.

Related Places:

Amazon: the Amazon is the world's largest river basin and the source of one-fifth of all free-flowing fresh water on Earth.

Amur: the Amur River is the longest undammed river in the Eastern Hemisphere, and has a watershed of over 380 million acres — slightly larger than the state of Alaska.

Mekong: the Mekong River flows almost 3,000 miles through six countries: China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.