Developing a “Trend Observatory in Water” for the Swiss Development Cooperation

Aerial view of blue lakes and green forests on a sunny summer day in Finland. drone photography

Global developments such as climate change, population growths, and diminishing resources put increasing stress on the use and management of the world’s water resources. Recent studies reveal that rapid changes can be observed globally in both, freshwater availability and the ecosystems sustaining them. Therefore, identifying and assessing emerging challenges and opportunities in the water and related sectors is becoming increasingly important in order to enable adequate responses to these developments.

Within its Global Programme Water (GPW) the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) aims to develop solutions to emerging global water challenges through political dialogue, fostering innovations and knowledge-exchange. GPW hosts the thematic network RésEAU, which brings together a large network of water experts, including staff of the different SDC divisions, their implementing partners as well as government counterparts. RésEAU’s main function is to tap and harness the broad knowledge existing within SDC’s water network. 

In its current programme phase, RésEAU aims to strengthen SDC’s water profile, making it more coherent and trend-setting. To this end SDC aims to establish a “Trend Observatory in Water” to enable RésEAU members to access cutting-edge knowledge and emerging trends in and specifically beyond the water domain. The core objective of the Trend Observatory is to keep the community informed about emerging trends and innovative approaches, and to integrate them effectively into events and activities of the RésEAU network.

adelphi realises main functions of this Trend Observatory by identifying emerging global and regional trends in the water and related sectors (such as agriculture or energy) and by preparing them in accessible formats suitable for the different target groups of the network. These take the shape of written inputs such as factsheets or presentations, complemented by short videos and more interactive formats such as expert webinars.