Water is Life



W12 Congress is not another talk shop or trade show but rather a dynamic partnership that is action-oriented and results-driven, culminating in the creation of the W12 Framework, which will be for ongoing collaboration across sectors, reflecting the common understanding of participating cities. This framework will include shared principles and goals. as well as plans for the development of resources for cities facing water shortages.
People generally underestimate the power and impact water has on our lives; though this does not include people from Cape Town (Capetonian’s) among others. When you consider Capetonian’s instant reaction and willingness to change their habits in a short space of time when Cape Town was confronted with a water crisis, not so long ago. A lack of rainfall resulted in the city facing intense water shortages, and all individuals were urged to carefully monitor their use of water.

If humanity could react that way towards water and its preservation on a daily basis, instead of treating water issues as a foreign concept unless threatened with possible demise. The environment and its resources will be sustainable for future generations to come. Studies conducted by scientists on the Cape Town drought, show that climate change causes water shortages. The climate models they used, indicate that the likelihood of that drought reoccurring, although still very rare, will increase with further global warming.

Perhaps, as humanity, it is about time we take a step back and re-evaluate our carbon footprint and its effects on generations to come, with the intention of changing and creating better habits that positively affect the environment, ensuring generations to follow can make use of those same resources we are so privileged to have. When applied correctly, good actions expand towards becoming good habits. Interestingly, the main factor attributed to the Cape Town drought, and consequent water shortages, was below-average rainfall rather than surface evaporation which is caused by high atmospheric temperatures.

The latest United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate change predicted that global temperature could rise between 0.3 and 4.8 degrees Celsius by the late 21st century. Certain countries ,like India, are most likely going to be confronted by serious global warming, which will result in them receiving bad weather and ultimately causing drought. This will put a strain on the agriculture output affecting food security for their nation. Climate change, pollution of water in rivers and lakes, over-extraction of groundwater from industries like mining and expansions of populations, are among some of the factors threatening one of humanity’s key sources of livelihood, water.

Cape Town was the first major City to face what has become known as “Day Zero” a day in which water resources are completely depleted and taps run dry. The W12 Conference which will be held in January, from the 27th to the 31st 2020 in Cape Town is a huge step towards reshaping our perspective towards environmental concerns, particularly water. South Africa aims to be the first global movement featuring the major work of city governments facing water crises.

The Congress will bring together city officials, academics, business executives, water experts from the major cities in the world that risk facing a Day Zero scenario in the future. This International Event will look at and share strategic actions to mitigate the water crisis. The recent drought, increasing population and expansion negatively impacted Cape Town’s economy, citizens and enterprises across industries and communities. Thanks to concentrated efforts from all sectors Day Zero was averted for the time being.

Leadership Magazine got some insights on two exceptional individuals who will be speaking at the Conference. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who was first known to the world as a famous bodybuilder and a Hollywood action hero, is a keynote speaker.

He was the 38th Governor of California, is an environmental crusader, a successful businessman and a generous philanthropist. Another keynote speaker is Sam Katiela, who was awarded the middle east event Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Middle East Industry for his work.

Katiela is considered a pioneer in International Strategic Communication and the Live Marketing Industry. He was born in Germany, where he studied Economics, Psychology and Media Sciences.

The objective of the W12 Conference is to dissect information and knowledge, through assessing the issue of water crises, using six expert task teams that will be focusing on Politics, Economics, Technical Sciences, Natural Sciences, Social Sciences and Civil Society. The aim of these task teams will be solemnly aggregating knowledge within and across thematic areas, sharing their best practices from different Geographic’s, with the intention of ultimately developing the W12 water framework for major cities. Solutions will be achieved through collaborations, networking, Q&A sessions and other participatory approaches.

Themes covered will include the following: Current Situation of Global Climate Change (This will be the Keynote Speech Focus). Impacts of Climate Change in Cape Town- the “Day Zero” scenario, Mitigation and Adaptation, Renewable Energy, The Importance of Water both in Business and daily life beyond the obvious. Water is vital to business. Poor water quality or insufficient supply can curtail or even shut down business activities in business operations and the supply chain.

So, how did Schwarzenegger’s passion for the environment first emerge? He was the Governor of California from 2003-2011, in 2008 Schwarzenegger declared the first statewide drought in 17 years when California’s water crisis intensified, setting the stage for drastic cutbacks and for diverting supplies from the relatively water-rich to the water-poor. He called for a 20 per cent reduction in water use statewide, urged local agencies to bolster conversation programs and to work with federal and other authorities to help, farmers who were suffering huge financial losses and abandoning crops in droves.

“There is no more time to waste because nothing is more vital than to protect our economy, our environment and our quality of life,” Schwarzenegger said. At the W12 Conference, he will share his insights and experience on dealing with the California Water Crises, with delegates from the 12 cities that will face, or are currently facing, similar challenges with drought and water resource management.

It’s no secret that people in the Middle East are already being affected by climate change in dire ways. Katiela’s unique and creative approach to developing strategic content, effectively translates messaging through interactive technologies, smart experiences, branded content, different shows and community experiences, that have been featured across the Middle East, Europe and in the entertainment capitals of Los Angeles, New York and Vegas. He also developed his own intellectual properties that focus on environmental and climate change issues, including MIYAH-World of Water, ALZAD- World of Food, Samiera Earth Expo and the upcoming European Summit of Megatrends (ESOM). He plays a crucial role in the W12 mission.

He is a regular speaker in event and sporting industry meetings and conferences in the Middle East, as well as at TEDxRamallah, the very first talks that were held in Palestine. In addition, he is also internationally recognised for his sporting innovation, Beach Polo, which has earned numerous regional & international awards, including the Order of Merit of the HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Creative Sports Award.

Katiela’s presentation will focus on his experiences in creating sustainability pavilions and experiences. It will also touch on the way innovative experiential forms of communication are key elements in educating the public on water issues. These experiential forms of communication promote positivity, rather than fear, so that people will enjoy to listen, understand and ultimately to act on vital issues.

The magnitude of the global freshwater crisis, and the risks associated with it, have been greatly underestimated. One billion people are without reliable supplies of water, and more than 2 billion people lack basic sanitation, the world needs to wake up. If this realisation comes to communities across the world too late it will result in conflict between nations for scarce resources. 

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