WSSS and the U.S. Water Partnership
On June 20th, 2012, Tufts University’s Institute of the Environment entered the U.S. Water Partnership (USWP), a group comprised of over 40 American public, private, and civil society organizations committed to addressing international water issues. The USWP’s purpose is to share U.S. knowledge, leverage and mobilize resources, and facilitate cross-sector partnerships in order to scale up innovative solutions and assist the 884 million people worldwide that go without clean water. Tufts Institute of the Environment (TIE) - and by affiliation the Water: Systems, Science, and Society (WSSS) program - is proud to become part of this partnership, and shares U.S. Environmental Protection Agency administrator Lisa P. Jackson’s vision that “the U.S. Water Partnership will allow us to bring together the best thinking - in both the public and private sectors - to tackle the pressing water challenges the world faces today and will face in the future.”
TIE’s membership was announced at the formal launch of the U.S. Water Partnership at the UN Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development. The partnership was inspired back in 2010 by Secretary Clinton’s World Water Day speech, in which she pledged to bring together American diplomatic, scientific, private sector, and development stakeholders to address global water challenges and create new opportunities for international engagement. Over the next year, it took a series of consultative meetings by the five founding partners, consisting of the Global Environment and Technology Foundation (GETF), Global Water Challenge, Environmental Law Institute, University of North Carolina Water Institute, World Resources Institute, and the U.S. Department of State to create the USWP. Although Secretary Clinton declared the formation of the partnership on March 22nd 2012, the conference in Rio signified the formal launch, and was accompanied by the announcement of the newest group of partners, which includes TIE.
TIE is honored to join the other members of the U.S. Water Partnership, which consists of government agencies, academic organizations, water coalitions, non-governmental organizations and private sector partnerships. Other partners include: Global Water Challenge, NASA, Overseas Private Investment Corporation, The Coca-Cola Company, Skoll Global Threats Fund, The Nature Conservancy, The Rockefeller Foundation, US Agency for International Development, US Department of State, US Environmental Protection Agency, University of Colorado Denver, World Resources Institute, and World Vision. TIE is one of only a handful of higher education organizations in the U.S. Water Partnership, due to Tufts’ nationally known interdisciplinary Water: Systems, Science and Society program, administered by TIE.
By working together through the U.S. Water Partnership, we can synthesize and manage U.S. information, technical assistance and training, and partnership development, with the result of improving access to knowledge. As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated, the Partnership allows the United States to “[pool] resources and [mobilize] American expertise, knowledge, and ingenuity to address water challenges around the globe, especially in developing countries where needs are the greatest.” With programs and support from the government sector, on-the-ground presence, skills, and data from NGOs and the private sector, all can help contribute towards the development and implementation of best practices. The U.S. has a lot to contribute, but U.S. government resources alone are currently insufficient to match humanitarian needs. The USWP will enable those committed to international water security to more effectively share information, launch water priority initiatives, and build awareness.
Launch partners also dedicated an impressive combined total of more than $500 million in financial and in-kind resources to address water problems around the globe over the next five years. These financial contributions will go towards a variety of signature initiatives, such as Skoll Global Threats Fund’s initiative on water security in South Asia, for which they pledged to invest $100,000. The Nature Conservancy also pledged $30 million to advance integrated water resource management, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is providing access to its watershed management tools and water quality standards, as well as regulatory and policy support. These initiatives, and the others that comprise the work of the USWP, are synergistic to our ongoing and evolving scholarship and practice in water science and management at Tufts.
TIE is committed to assisting the the Partnership by providing USWP and its partners with access to our esteemed graduate students and faculty focused on interdisciplinary environmental education, research, and outreach. Furthermore, we are excited about the opportunities for collaboration with our Water: Systems, Science, and Society (WSSS) program, which contains the combined expertise on a variety of water issues such as: Water, Climate and Environmental Change; Water and Public Health; Water Pollution and Remediation Science; Watershed Management; Water, Food and Livelihood Security; and Water and National and International Security. Finally, TIE works closely with NSF’s IGERT-funded Water Diplomacy PhD program at Tufts. TIE looks forward to collaboration with USWP stakeholders to foster research and professional opportunities for our graduate students and solutions for global water problems.
The Water: Systems, Science and Society (WSSS) program is a graduate research and education program that provides Tufts students with interdisciplinary perspectives and tools to manage water-related problems around the world.
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