Past Event

After the UN Water conference: Examining the global dissonance

7 June 2023 16:00–17:30

King's College London Room 2.01, Bush House, King's College London, London WC2B 4BG.

How did the latest UN Water Conference influence the progress of global water governance? Join us in a hybrid discussion of what matters!

Global water and sanitation governance still have a long way to go before attaining the ambition of SDG 6 to “ensure access to water and sanitation for all”. A seemingly positive trajectory has been reported over the last half-century, but delving deeper into the vast sea of desiccated water commitments and pledges reveals otherwise.

The recent UN Water Conference, held in March 2023, made a call that “progress must be accelerated”. However, to what extent will such an acceleration fundamentally address existing challenges of fragmented governance and cope with changing climate, urbanization, and agricultural intensification?

In this hybrid panel discussion, we unpick the effectiveness of global initiatives and underlying assumptions in debates surrounding water governance. Following on from an earlier event at IDS on ‘Revisiting the UN Water Conference: 46 years of learning and forgetting?’, we probe fallouts of market-based valuation of water and financialisation; tensions around the role of the state and the social contract amidst capitalist structures that govern water; missing voices, indigenous knowledges, and narratives in global fora such as the conference.

The starting point of these discussions is founded on four planks discussed in the latest book Water: A Critical Introduction — encouraging a sharper, critical approach to better understanding water problems: scarcity is made; knowledge is power; water is life; sites of resistance or camp is everywhere.

This event is hosted by the King’s Water Centre in collaboration with the Institute of Development Studies and the International Water Management Institute.


  • Professor Lyla Mehta, Institute of Development Studies and Norwegian University of Life Sciences
  • Jessica Troell , Senior Attorney; Director, International Water Program; Director, Africa Program
  • Dr Catarina Fonseca, IRC Associate, IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre
  • Dr Alan Nicol, Strategic Program Director, International Water Management Institute.


Professor Naho Mirumachi, King’s Water Centre, King’s College London.

How to attend

Register here


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