The key annual event for AWP, our Partners Workshop took place from 8-9 March 2023 in Adelaide, South Australia. The workshop was an opportunity to share knowledge and experience and look at how Australia can effectively play a role in supporting the Indo-Pacific in climate action and response.
A huge thanks to all of our speakers, especially Clem Newchurch and Quahli Newchurch from the Kaurna Community and their generous sharing of knowledge and experience to help participants better understand the Country where we were meeting.
Thanks also to Susan Close South Australia’s Deputy Premier and Minister for Climate, Environment and Water, for her opening words on adapting water management to climate change and perspectives and experiences in South Australia, and South Australian Governor, Her Excellency the Honourable Frances Adamson AC for her reflections at the Partners Dinner. The event could not have taken place without the support of the Department of Environment and Water and our expert facilitator Tamerlaine Beasley from Beasley Intercultural.
Pre-workshop trainings on 7 March on Water management for climate adaptation and mitigation, led by the Victorian Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action (DEECA); and Gender equality, disability and social Inclusion (GEDSI), led by WaterAid.
A networking reception focusing on Connecting AWP Partners for Building Consortia, hosted by Karlene Maywald, SA Water Ambassador with support from Australian Water Association Young Water Professionals.
The session on Intersections of water and climate with domestic and foreign policy facilitated by Michael Wilson, CEO of eWater Group, with speakers Dr Cate Rogers, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Chris Golding, Department of Climate Change, Energy, Environment and Water and panellists Anna Jackson, CEO Unitywater and Pichamon Yeophantong, Deakin University. This session focused on changes taking place around water and climate policy including how this translates to our international engagement in water and development.
Welcome to Kaurna country by Clem and Quahli Newchurch from the Kaurna Community, followed later by a session on Connection to Country. At Pirlta Wardli, Clem Newchurch shared learning about the history and significance of the Torrens River and surrounding landscape for Kaurna peoples, and some of the current challenges faced within this space to begin to heal this waterway. Quahli Newchurch took partners on a walk through the Adelaid Botanic Gardens to learn about Kaurna plants, their uses and connections, and the importance of holistic knowledges when it comes to restoring the health of our land, our waters and ourselves.
Day 2 included Engaging in conversations that matter on climate resilient water management which was a facilitated process for Partners to bring forward their ideas and areas of interest, followed by dynamic conversations to be driven by partners on key issues around climate resilient water management. The session concluded with the eWater board chair, Greg Claydon, providing reflections from the conversations.
The Partnerships for Climate Action panel with thought leaders speaking about climate challenges and responses across the international and domestic policy spheres. The panel was moderated by Lucía Gamarra, AWP and speakers included, Kaneko Keo , Oxfam Mekong Water Governance Program, Ashley Kingsborough, DEW, Seth Westra, University of Adelaide, Clem Newchurch, Kaurna and also we were joined online by Allison Woodruff, Asian Development Bank, and Arun Shrestha, ICIMOD.
Our day 2 keynote by Pacific Community Director for the Geoscience, Energy and Maritime Division Ms Rhonda Robinson and her team which highlighted issues from the Pacific that intersect across water and climate. Lusia Sefo-Leau, PWWA and Dean Taylor, BecaHunter H20 also provided reflections based on their experience and perspectives in the Pacific.
We hope to hold the next Partners Workshop later in the year in 2024 and will provide details once this is confirmed.