Toward Urban Water Security: What works, when and why?

Virtual Event

Online, 25.05.2022


Bonn Water Network

Cities are organic, highly divided (socially, economically, politically) social spaces. These divisions manifest spatially, and ensuring the ‘right to the city’ is a difficult task. Evidence suggests that macro-approaches such as Integrated Water Resources Management or Integrated Urban Water Management are difficult to implement. Yet, opportunities for positive social change often arise. How to ensure that these opportunities result in collective social good? In this seminar, Corrine Cash, Mount Allison University, and Larry Swatuk, University of Waterloo, critically reflect on the appropriate entry points for urban water security. Their findings show that change requires organization, persistence, and innovation, that positive outcomes may be fungible, and that negative outcomes are opportunities for reflection and reorganization. Their research highlights factors that are necessary for equitable, sustainable and affordable outcomes: collective, cross-sectoral and participatory decision-making; actions that are framed in a deliberately non-political way and projects that are underpinned by influential third-party involvement.


Whether some or all of these are necessary, however, is not clear. Drawing on evidence from a series of case studies, the speakers point to the necessary conditions to ensure that effective efforts in support of urban water security are fungible and scalable within and across cities.



Welcome note

  • Annabelle Houdret, Speaker, Bonn Water Network, and senior researcher at the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE).



  • Lars Wirkus, Senior Management \ Head of Research Infrastructure and Data at Bonn International Centre for Conflict Studies (BICC).


The Political Economy of Urban Water Security under Climate Change: Politics of water for cities


The importance of governance arrangements for improved climate resilience: A case study from Manila


Input by discussant

  • Diego Jara, Legal Officer, IUCN International Union for Conservation of Nature) Environmental Law Centre


Closing Remarks

The Bonn Water Network consists of eleven renowned institutions with longstanding experience on water and related issues: the Bonn International Centre for Conflict Studies (BICC); Bonn University with its Institute of Geography (GIUB) holding the UNESCO Chair in Human Water Systems, the Center for Development Research (ZEF) and the Institute for Hygiene and Public Health (IHPH); the German Development Institute/Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE);the IUCN Environmental Law Centre; and three Bonn-based UN institutions: the United Nations Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS), the Secretariat of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and the Global Water Operators Partnerships Alliance (UN-Habitat/GWOPA). In addition, Berlin based Water Integrity Network (WIN) and the International Centre for Water Resources and Global Change (ICGWRC) based in Koblenz are partners of the BWN.

Hinweis / Please note

Während unserer Veranstaltungen werden z.T. Foto- und/oder Filmaufnahmen gemacht, die für Zwecke der Veranstaltungsberichterstattung und allgemeinen Öffentlichkeitsarbeit in verschiedenen Medien veröffentlicht werden. Sie haben jederzeit das Recht, die Foto- oder Videograf*innen darauf hinzuweisen, dass Sie nicht aufgenommen werden möchten.

During our events photos and/or videos may be taken which may be published in various media for the purposes of documentation and PR activities. You have the right at any time to point out to the photographer or videographer that you do not want to be photographed or filmed.


Datum / Uhr
25.05.2022 / 17:00 - 18:30




Contact for questions regarding content of this event:
Susanne Heinke (BICC):

Speaker of the network: Annabelle Houdret (DIE): and
Co-spokesperson: Mariele Evers (GIUB):

Bonn Water