Thematic forum 8

Eschborn Dialogue thematic forum 8

Elixir of life driving the economy: cooperation and conflict over water

A basic necessity for humankind and the environment and a vital resource for many companies is coming under increasing pressure. Conflicts between competing water users can lead to considerable environmental damage and social costs; for companies it can result in the loss of or damage to goods during production. It is now more important than ever before that all stakeholders work together.

New models of cooperation for improved water management involving the public sector, civil society and the private sector have already been put into practice. The concept of water stewardship focuses on including all water users and engaging the private sector more fully in the effort to reduce shared water risks. Equally, for such partnerships to be successful it is essential to have effective institutions in place. Water risks include, for example, a shortage of water available for production or poor water quality.

‘Nine years ago we had no idea about water risks and now we see how they are directly affecting our operations and investments,’ said David Grant from the brewery group SABMiller. Increasingly companies are entering into partnerships with actors from the public sector and civil society on issues such as the fair distribution and quality assurance of water. Andrew Edge from AusAID emphasised that cooperation should of course benefit not only individual companies but all water users.

Contributors to the discussion agreed that partnerships between the state, companies and civil society help reduce water risks and safeguard access to an adequate supply of clean water for all stakeholders. GIZ supports relevant partnerships within the framework of the new African Water Stewardship Initiative (AWSI) and the successful Water Futures Partnership (in cooperation with SABMiller and WWF).

Event format: Round table
Languages: English, German


Panellists and speakers


Wolf-Michael Dio, Head of Division, GIZ, Germany


Franca Schwarz, Head of the Sub-Department, International Cooperation, Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources, Germany

David Grant, Sustainable Development Project Manager, SABMiller, United Kingdom

Lesha Witmer, Permanent Representative, Business and Professional Women International, United Nations, The Netherlands

Andrew Edge, Head of the Southern Africa Regional Office, AusAID, South Africa

Martin Geiger, Director, Sustainability, Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH, Germany

David Zetland, Water Economist, Wageningen University, Netherlands


Johan Kuylenstierna, Executive Director, Stockholm Environment Institute, Sweden


Fabian Wilhelm
Phone: +49 69 247065-21


Further information