Second Annual Forum of Water Community, UN Solution Exchange at Kolkata, 28-30 October 2009
The Water Community of Solution Exchange is planning its Second Annual Forum in Kolkata. Over the past few years, this has become the most important national event for the water and sanitation sector. It is an exciting opportunity for practitioners in the field to listen to leading speakers, share experiences and get a first-hand view of carefully selected projects.
The event will last 2 ½ days and the dates are 28-30 October, 2009. The venue is Hotel Hindustan International, Kolkata. About 150-200 participants are expected to attend the Forum. The Annual Forum brings together the lead practitioners on water, governance, resource management, sanitation and drinking water in India once a year. These practitioners are from the government, private sector, donors and the UN, who are mostly members of the Water Community. It is one of the important water-related events on the national calendar. The event also helps the Community set priorities for discussions and action groups during the year. It raises the profile of water-related issues nationally and internationally through debate and the media.
The Forum is open to all members of the Water Community and practitioners working on water and sanitation. We are also planning to especially invite members and water practitioners from two geographical areas:
· The north-eastern states of Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Nagaland, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim
· The eastern states of West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Orissa and Uttar Pradesh.
The forum will discuss water and sanitation related issues from each of these geographical areas. The Water Community is planning to run two parallel discussion tracks to bring out issues especially from the north-east and east, both of which are under-represented in the discussions and the Community. We plan to have state-wise and thematic discussions on watsan. An indicative agenda is given below. Each speaker will get 30 minutes, including 10 minutes for discussions.
There will also be a third track, covering the rest of the country. This will be thematic as well, but will cover issues pertinent to the rest of India. The tentative programme illustrates how these will run.
The participants will have the opportunity to interact face to face, rather than virtually, to discuss important concerns relating to water in India. The participants will take the seminar's agenda forward online through discussions and action research projects. The outputs from the discussions on the water community have been used as inputs in project proposals, research documents, state and national level policies, and as repositories of information. Ideas for these discussions originate in face-to-face meetings such as the national forum and add new life to the vibrancy of the community.
The expected outputs from the Forum are:
1. At least 3 action research projects identified, and the groups constituted
2. At least 15-20 discussion topics identified, and the query posers identified along with timelines
3. Highlight issues from the North-East to promote possible collaboration with organizations working in the region and elsewhere
1. Identify one action research project and constitute the group
2. Identify up to five discussion topics from the region
3. Expand membership in the region
As part of the Forum, we will hold a Knowledge Mela where selected organizations can showcase their work and have face-to-face discussions with participants. This is a knowledge sharing mechanism that helps small, grassroots level organizations demonstrate their projects at a national forum, an opportunity they seldom get.
We would also like to organize a field visit and would like suggestions on this. This one-day exposure trip can cover one or more key projects/developments in water and sanitation near Kolkata
Can you please suggest,
1. Organisations/experts and government officials from the north-east who can attend the forum
2. A theme for your specific state related to water/sanitation issues
3. Speakers/presenters who can talk about these themes
Last year, the Joint Secretary (RWS) Mr. T M Vijay Bhaskar attended the meeting and we organised an `open house' on issues pertinent to the Department of Drinking Water Supply. We had field visits to several sites in and around Bangalore, the venue for the 2008 Annual Forum. About 120 people from all over India attended the forum.
Indicative programme 28-30 October 2009 28 October
Theme I: Water management in wet hilly areas Theme II: Focus on human use of water Theme III: Challenges of access to water Theme IV: Arsenic contamination in Assam Theme V: Sanitation challenges in hilly areas Theme VI: Low cost sanitation solutions Theme VII: Mega-projects in the North-Eastern Himalayas Theme VIII: Water and climate change Perspectives from the Eastern states Theme I: Arsenic contamination in Bengal, Bihar and other states Theme II: Maintaining water quality during floods Theme III: Sanitation challenges in flood prone areas Theme IV: Local government institutions' role in sanitation Theme V: Coping with the endless cycle of floods and droughts Challenges facing the rest of India Theme I: Water security in the time of climate change solutions from the government and communities Theme II: Coping with fluoride contamination of drinking water Theme III: Challenges in scaling up sanitation coverage Theme IV: Challenging mind-sets in sanitation new approaches Theme V: How can sanitation be incentivised
1530 - 1700 Action points from discussions queries, action groups
29 October 0830 1700 Field visit
30 October 0900 1000 Sharing experiences from field visits
1000 1300 Knowledge mela face-to-face interaction at tables for selected NGOs or individuals 1300 1400 Lunch 1400 1500 Key takeaways from the Forum and wrapping up
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