I had 2 “missions” during my short time abroad last week in Stockholm:
World Water Week, hosted and organized by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) takes place each year in Stockholm and has been the annual focal point for the globe’s water issues since 1991. Any – and every – body that is an ‘anybody’ in their region’s water sector attends this important learning, networking and information-sharing week. I was the lucky one from FoEME to participate this year!
This year’s theme was “Water in an Urbanizing World” and nowhere was it more appropriate to hold the conference then in Stockholm – a city that includes 14 islands and 57 bridges, and boasts clean water in its urban waterways; clean enough to swim and even to drink (although the mayor did urge for visitors to drink from the taps, and not straight from the river or the lake).
One session that I attended, “Strengthening Water Diplomacy in Transboundary Basins“, was particularly interesting, giving global examples from such transboundary basins as the Ganges River Basin, the Nile River Basin, the Mekong River and the Sixaolo River Basin. Each case was given from a different perspective – one from the eyes of a diplomat, one from an international network, one from a policy institute, etc. The workshop also talked about the importance of the 1997 UN Watercourses Convention as a legal tool for the use, management, and protection of international watercourses, along with other diplomatic tools, such as formal diplomacy, informal diplomacy (“Track II” – that’s us!), and more.
My second “mission” in Stockholm was to advertise, and open FoEME’s Photography Exhibition of the Lower Jordan River. So first I found the “watercube” booth at the conference venue, and put in a short pitch about FoEME’s Jordan River Rehabilitation Project and about the Exhibit’s opening night at Stockholm’s ‘Galleri Kontrast’. I then “hit the streets” of downtown Stockholm and distributed flyers about the exhibit.
Galleri Kontrast is a strategically located gallery, just off the bridge from the Old City and directly across from the city’s “Stadsmuseum”, and is a lovely, high-ceiling, former bank building refurbished into a charming and airy gallery (even the old money vault downstairs is used to showcase photos!). I helped set up the exhibit, opening the roll-ups laden with information about the state of the River and FoEME’s efforts for its rehabilitation, and hanging the beautiful photos taken by Eddie Gerald to be featured in this traveling exhibition.
It was an honor to have Mr. Hans Magnusson, from the Swedish International Development Agency’s Department for Conflict and Post Conflict Cooperation, give welcoming words at the opening night, and it was very satisfying to see the visitors enjoying the photos and asking questions & learning about the challenges facing the Jordan River.
Mira Edelstein is FoEME’s Resource Development Officer, Foreign Media Officer, Website Manager….