2030 Water Resources Group hosted a session exploring the pathways to urban resiliency on the sidelines of the 28th World Economic Forum on Africa in Cape Town, South Africa, the theme of which was Shaping Inclusive Growth and Shared Futures In The Fourth Industrial Revolution. More than a dozen attendees investigated how current and emerging partnerships are making African cities more resilient, with a focus on circular economy approaches – particularly industrial and municipal wastewater reuse.
Generating more than 80% of global GDP, cities can be centres of inclusive growth and innovation, with urban water management and resilience being a key enabler of this vision. From responding to climate pressure to addressing social and economic challenges, close collaboration with urban communities, co-located industries, farmers and other public institutions will be needed.
The event, which was chaired by Suzie Nkambule, Managing Director of Aveng Water and featured guest speakers from Bulk Water, GECKO, Nestlé, and Arup, focused on finding the opportunities for applying circular economy approaches within cities with a focus on the wastewater value chain, and analyzing how partnerships can initiate and or accelerate action towards circularity.
The discussions revealed that to effectively implement water reuse, technical credibility is vital, alongside the necessary political will and widespread social acceptance. In this context, trust is the keystone. For example, if there is even one minimal failure, support for direct reuse will weaken and will significantly set back public acceptance.
Attendees also explored areas where circularity can be adopted in key national government policy reforms and ideated the catalytic actions to get these reforms, dialogue and processes underway.
Over 1,000 regional and global leaders from politics, business, civil society and academia attended the World Economic Forum on Africa, which took place in Cape Town from and was focused on how to scale up the transformation of regional architecture related to innovation, cooperation, growth and stability.