The 4th National Conference on Science, Policy and the Environment will explore the role of science in achieving sustainable relationships among water, people, and the environment. The conference will address the many essential roles water plays in our lives today - maintaining human health and survival, protecting sensitive ecosystems, producing an ample food supply, promoting overall economic prosperity, enhancing recreation and aesthetics, and providing long-term security of individuals and nations.
Water issues are diverse and complex. Different water needs compete with each other - between the needs of ecosystems and the needs of human communities; or between upstream and downstream users. Freshwater, estuarine and coastal water resources are particularly under pressure from growing populations. Water supplies are often contaminated with microbial and chemical agents that impact human health. Moreover, water resources and issues transcend political boundaries.
The conference will examine the consequences of these and other water-related issues, help participants recognize common areas of concern, and identify scientific and technological strategies to achieve far-reaching solutions. Participants will assist in developing science-based strategies for policymakers in order to attain broad societal goals and to develop a framework for future dialogue and collaboration. The conference will:
Bring together diverse stakeholders - scientists, engineers, managers, planners, policymakers at the local, state, tribal, national and international levels, leaders from the business community and non-governmental organizations, educators, and concerned citizens;
Address major questions, such as access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation, transboundary issues, ecological and societal conflicts on water use, management of watersheds and river basins, and provision of water supplies to low-income rural and urban inhabitants;
Examine the roles of science, technology, and education in addressing water-related challenges facing society in different regions of the world in the next few decades;
Explore the diversity of approaches in implementing solutions to water-related issues, while at the same time allowing participants to discover shared concerns and common ground for conducting water resource projects at the local, national, and international levels;
Develop a series of specific strategies to achieve water-related goals and objectives as stated by the United Nations Millennium Declaration, the Word Summit on Sustainable Development, Agenda 21, and the 2003 Kyoto World Water Forum.
Motivated by a deeper understanding of water for a sustainable and secure future, conference participants will forge new partnerships and develop new science-based solutions. Strategies developed at the conference will be widely publicized and presented at briefings to U.S. Congress, federal, state, and local governments, bilateral and multilateral agencies, international governmental and non-governmental organizations, educational and academic institutions, and the general public.