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UN-WATER Summit on Groundwater 2022 - Pre-Summit Side Events in Paris

Within the framework of the Pre-Summit of the UN-Water Summit on Groundwater 2022, the UNESCO Chair on Sustainability at the UPC participates in the organization of the side-event “Rethinking sustainable groundwater management: ancestral knowlededge and techniques as an inspiring source of innovation”, on December 6th, 2022.



The Event organized by the Global Network of Water Museums (WAMU-NET) consists of 3 activities:

  1. A Thematic Session aimed at rethinking sustainable groundwater management

  2. An Exhibition on ancestral knowledge and techniques as an inspiring source of innovation

  3. A Field visit to the Musée des Egouts of Paris


All activities will aim at fostering debate among the Summit participants on the following questions: how can ancestral groundwater management practices and inherited techniques for rainwater harvesting can inspire policy makers and institutions to address the current sustainability challenges of groundwater uses? What lessons do these management practices and practical know-how offer for future resilience planning?


Download the side-event Programme: Here


The side-event took place from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m., in room XI of UNESCO Paris. At the time of the event, the UNESCO Chair on Sustainability participates as one of the only two Keynote-speakers, through the talk developed by prof. Jordi Morató: “Ancestral Hydrotechnologies for Climate Emergency. Using the Past to Rescue the Future.”


The following topics were discussed in the presentation:

  • Use of ancestral hydrotechnologies in climate adaptation

  • Development of Socio-ecological, technical and cultural Systems (SETs) and reduction of vulnerability

  • Traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) and NBS

  • Two ancient hydrotechnologies are presented, the Amunas (Peru) and the Zenú case (Colombia). The Zenú case is presented as an example of the quadruple NEXUS

  • Finally, the SURENEXUS project is presented

  • The Keynote closes by presenting the International Conference on International Hydrotechnologies, which will take place from February 16 to 17 in Barcelona.


Key messages

  • Ancestral systems of groundwater management offer lessons for future resilience planning

  • The use of groundwater for human development can combine new technologies and ancestral/indigenous know-how related to groundwater uses, recharge, and heritage

  • Active participation and involvement of local communities in monitoring of groundwater quantity and quality is promoted further through water museums and institutions

  • Educational activities on sustainable water uses and new permanent and temporary exhibitions on the history of groundwater management contribute to raise public awareness


The key messages that will be delivered to policy makers, institutions, and museum managers will focus on strengthening further water awareness educational programmes, learning from past practices and water history to foster more farsighted management of groundwater, and encouraging the creation of new water museums and information centres on aquifers worldwide.


Working Meetings

The work team of the UNESCO Chair on Sustainability at the UPC, who traveled to Paris (Jordi Morató and Olga Lucia Sánchez), held a workshop with Professor Nicola Tollin from the University of Southern Denmark -SDU- in Denmark, to consolidate the strategic key points for the IHP-IV that will be presented in an upcoming meeting (date to be determined), with the director of the Water Division of UNESCO Paris. The idea is how the UNESCO Chair on Sustainability and the UNESCO Chair of the SDU, together with the new network UNITWIN “International Network on Water and Resilient Human Settlements”, will collaborate with the IHP-IV, identifying the main products (outputs) of the IHP-IV Operational Plan, to develop the implementation of strategic actions.


On the other hand, different meetings were developed, organized by Jose Luis Martin Bordes, collaborator from the UNESCO Chair, in order to prepare the International Conference on Ancestral Hydrotechnologies, to be held in Barcelona, next February, 2023.






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