IGF 2019 WS #255 New Visions: Water Governance 2.0

Organizer 1: Elizabeth Taylor, WaterLoom
Organizer 2: Laura Balboni, Catapult

Speaker 1: Asif Kabani, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 2: Mey Al Sayegh, Government, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 3: Elizabeth Taylor, Technical Community, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Policy Question(s): 

What policies hold public and private stakeholders accountable for better water data exchange? What policy considerations and legal frameworks should be developed for water data transfers across national borders for various purposes? How can we maintain data sovereignty while still cooperating on much-needed data exchange?

Relevance to Theme: Water data exchange and information relies on better data governance policies and cooperation. With the advent of digital information being created and sent in different parts of the world, the international discussions around water will come to center around our most important resource: water. Like data is generated across borders, there are 263 transboundary water resources that are used by 2 billion people. It's a necessity to begin speaking of water data as a special point of governance. What does transnational use of water data look like so that it is inclusive? How can our policies prioritize this common good above local politics, so better public health and sustainable practices take place?

Relevance to Internet Governance: Water data has only recently been officially standardized in March 2018 by the United Nations. Governance around local and global water has been slow-moving. However that’s an issue, especially with pending water wars in areas like Pakistan and South Africa. Governments, the private sector, and the public need to accelerate water data standardization and make progress in implementing how water data exchange and information should happen across borders and organizations. By having an inclusive environment, internet governance surrounding the challenge of water management makes for more effective policies and preventative actions.


Round Table - U-shape - 60 Min

Description: I. Introduction to water, data exchange, and the status quo governments and private organizations possess
II. Overview of water conflict in selected areas and the data exchange challenges faced (and how they have not been changed)
III. Discussion over water data standardization and the World Meteorological Organization's challenges in creating WL.20 (water data standardization protocol).
IV. Discuss the participation of private sector, the public (Citizen Science movement), and other grassroots policy movements and how they can be integrated
V. Technical challenges facing water data exchange and information (data gaps, big data, siloed information)
VI. What technology could bring to fix these challenges (artificial intelligence, predictive analytics, mobile sensors)
VII. How internet governance could be involved in facilitating technical advancement for better water data exhange
VIII. Case studies in successful internet governance, particularly surrounding sustainability and environmental practices
IX. Climate action, internet governance, and how better water data information creates contigency plans to prevent public health and natural disasters
X. Discussion on the roadmap of what can governments, the private sector, and individuals can do immediately to foster better exchange and data collection (discuss UN's Sustainable Development Goals as a guideline)
XI. Open up the floor for questions to both floor and online participants
XII. Ask "Who do we need to talk to?" as closing remarks, in showing that we all need to collaborate and further our data governance endeavors in having water data exchange as the bridge that connects. Show (on slide) the organizations or ways participants can be involved.

Expected Outcomes: The expectation is that participants come away informed and aware of how fragmented current water data collection, analysis, and exchange is carried out. They should be educated about how so many parts of the UN SDGs are hindered because water data is not optimized for analysis. Participants can also know how they can personally get involved or who they need to advocate with for a more inclusive and efficient water data sharing.

Onsite Moderator: 

Elizabeth Taylor, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Online Moderator: 

Laura Balboni, Technical Community, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)


Elizabeth Taylor, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Discussion Facilitation: 

Organizers will be posing questions to both workshop speakers and audience members, to keep the conversation moving and lively. Speakers and participatns will have center stage, having a dialogue of sorts. The organizer will be facilitating the speaker-audience discussion.

For the discussion, we would like to tailor the workshop towards the participants.
When participants enter, we would like to dispense to them colored pins or lanyards.
Each color will signify an "interest" as to why they are attending the workshop.

Yellow: government
Blue: water
Green: technology
Purple: climate action

Participants are encouraged to interrupt and ask questions; due to the color of the pin, workshop speakers can tailor their message towards the interest of the participant speaking.

Our online moderator will be posing questions for those watching online. Additionally, towards the end, we will open questions to both the in-person and online participants.

Online Participation: 

We will welcome our online audience. We will have our online moderator pose questions and monitor questions from the participants online.

Proposed Additional Tools: We will be using Twitter as a way to draw more dialogue. We aim to partner with institutions who will promote the session online before our session. Water-related institutions like the Oxford Water Network and data-related organizations like Open Data will be able to draw more minds into the conversation.


GOAL 6: Clean Water and Sanitation
GOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
GOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
GOAL 13: Climate Action