Granada, Spain

IAHR World Congress, 2022

From Snow to Sea

19-24 June 2022



The High-Level Panels, composed of renowned experts, will discuss and debate relevant topics selected by the Organisation during plenary sessions of the Congress. The sessions will be open to intervention and interaction with the audience and will be organized and moderated by Convener(s) leaders in their respective fields.

Topic 1

High Level Panel “From Snow to Sea”

Date and time: Tuesday 21 June 2022, 10:00 – 11:30 h.
Convenor: Torkil Jønch Claussen . Chair of the Action Platform for Source-to-Sea Management

As the first High Level Panel of the 39th IAHR World Congress, this session will set the stage for the overall theme “From Snow to Sea”. After a brief general introduction to the overall subject, the Panel will focus on the sub-theme “Managing enclosed seas under climate threat”.
Our oceans are under serious threat, largely due to a tragic combination of land use, pollution, habitat degradation, freshwater mismanagement and climate change. Increasing competition for scarce and often polluted water threaten human livelihoods and ecosystems and biodiversity. As a result, the ocean suffers from dead zones due to oxygen depletion, plastic islands, dying corals and wetlands, and key marine species are disappearing.
Climate change intensifies the problems. Sea temperatures and sea levels are rising, extreme weather events are becoming more severe and frequent, and the vital capacity of oceans and coastal wetlands to save our planet by absorbing carbon is threatened. At the same time our freshwater resources suffer increasingly from scarcity and increased variability in the form of floods and droughts.
The freshwater and ocean challenges are interdependent. Land-based activities affect our seas, and sea level rise, cyclones and salinity intrusion threaten coastal and riverine communities. These challenges cannot be addressed through separate actions taken by the freshwater and ocean communities. We need to bridge the current silos between them and address our challenges from a holistic system perspective – from snow to sea – through coordinated management of land, freshwater, coasts and the ocean. The Sustainable Development Goals on water (SDG 6) and oceans (SDG 14) as well as climate (SDG 13) and biodiversity (SDG 15) must be implemented hand in hand.
The Congress in Granada takes place on the shores of one of the world’s most valuable enclosed seas, the Mediterranean, beautifully set with snowy mountains in the background. And it happens at a time when the recent 6th assessment report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, followed by COP 26 in Glasgow, has warned us all that time is running out if we are to save the planet. We need to accelerate action on both mitigation and adaptation to climate change, and as a threatened enclosed sea the Mediterranean is a strong case in point.
After a stage-setting keynote address, a Panel of high-level women and men from the freshwater, ocean and climate communities will address the issue of “managing enclosed seas under climate threat”. They will discuss what the most urgent threats are and how we can coordinate action from ‘snow to sea’ to solve them. The Mediterranean will be a key case, supported by experiences from other enclosed seas such as the Baltic, the Black Sea and the Bohai Sea.

Topic 2

High Level Panel “Water Governance”

Organised by the General Directorate for Water.
Ministry for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge. Spain
Date and time: Wednesday 22 June 2022, 10:00 – 11:30 h.
Venue: Palacio de Congresos de Granada. Paseo del Violón, 18006 Granada, Spain

Convenor: Manuel Menéndez Prieto . Special Advisor in the Cabinet of the Spanish Deputy Minister of the Environment and Vice President of the Intergovernmental Hydrological Program of UNESCO (IHP).

He has held the positions of General Director of Water,  Advisor in the Cabinet of the President of the Government of Spain and Technical Director of the Cabinet of the Secretary General for Territory and Biodiversity, in the Environment Ministry.

Member of the Spanish Corps of Civil Engineers, he worked as researcher in the Hydraulic Laboratory and in the Hydrology Area of ​​the Center for Studies and Experimentation on Public Works (CEDEX) and as Associate Professor in the Department of Hydraulics and Energy at the Polytechnic University of Madrid.

The health crisis of recent years and the scientific evidence of climate change and its effects confront us with challenges that require an improvement in the way in which environmental policy is defined and implemented, and as a core component of the environment, this need for improvement holds true for water policy as well.
On a global scale, the need for a specific regulatory framework for water management, for strengthening institutional capacity, for greater public participation, or for developing a solid technical and scientific basis for decision-making has become evident. Ultimately, improving water governance has become imperative.
This improvement in governance must consider different levels of management and planning, ranging from the river basin, as the basis of natural phenomena, to national, regional, or multilateral territorial spheres, dependent on the specific socioeconomic frameworks through which the management of the river is carried out.
This High Level Panel will contemplate each of these perspectives, associated with different geographical and administrative scales, and therefore will include participants who represent the competent authorities in a river basin district (the Guadalquivir Hydrographic Confederation), a supranational administration (the European Commission), and a multilateral institution (OECD).
Each of them must respond to different needs. The hydrographic demarcation exploits the infrastructures, exercises environmental surveillance and control, and regulates the uses of water on a day-to-day basis and in as close contact as possible with the citizens. A supranational administration fundamentally exercises the functions of defining the regulatory framework, supervising and coordinating hydrological planning, and prioritizing the financing and realisation of investments, while the multilateral perspective seeks agreement between different countries, agrees on common objectives, and recommends fundamental actions to be taken in the face of global challenges.
Two experts on the panel will highlight the importance of having a system of water management that makes use of the best available technical and scientific knowledge (UNESCO Water Sciences Division) and how, in all cases, decision-making must be carried out with transparency and with public participation (environmental NGOs).

Nuria Jiménez Gutiérrez (Technical Director of the Guadalquivir Hydrographic Confederation)
Shamila Nair (Assistant Director-General for Natural Sciences of UNESCO)
Nuria Hernández Mora (Nueva Cultura del Agua Foundation)

Topic 3

High Level Panel “Artificial Intelligence”

Date and time: Thursday 23 June 2022, 10:00 – 11:30 h.
Convenors: Dragan Savic, Vladan Babovic and Joseph Lee

The panel brings together globally leading experts from both fields: Water Management and Artificial Intelligence. The panel members will advocate perspectives of academia, technology, end-users and venture capital.
The panel will help the IAHR community articulate leadership in this exciting endeavor, identify though leadership opportunities for the community at large.
The panel will address tangible results achieved through AI to date, and discuss avenues ahead – in both scientific and societally relevant (applied) sense.

Bojana Jankovic-Nisic (Director of operations UK/Europe of Optimatics)
Rebekah Eggers (Americas Technical Leader, IBM)

Topic 4

High Level Panel “Nature-based Solutions and Ecohydraulics”

Date and time: Friday 24 June 2022, 10:00 – 11:30 h.
Convenors: Ellis Penning and Chen Qiu-Wen
Title: Upscaling the Implementing Nature Based Solutions for Climate Change Adaptation – Perspectives from Government and Science


Climate change affects communities around the globe, and often through water related challenges such as increased flood and drought risks. The related impact on drinking water availability and food production, risk of waterborne diseases and damage to properties and coastal zones are high and increasing. At the same time we see an increased call for Nature-based Solutions to help solve these challenges. Many demonstration projects have been implemented but upscaling remains difficult. Yet, there is a clear notice, also resulting from the recent COP26, that we need to speed up this implementation. Science can play an important role in providing knowledge to upscale the implementation of NbS, such as results from eco-hydraulic research and innovative monitoring of natural dynamics in water systems.

During this High Level Panel we will discuss the following questions:
• ‘What is needed for upscaling NbS implementation? ‘
• ‘What is the role of governments, financial institutions, science, NGOs and public in facilitating uptake of NbS?’
• ‘How does the local context affect the easiness of upscaling implementation?’
• ‘What can we learn from successful cases?’
• ‘How can the IAHR-community contribute to this effort?’

The Panel brings together experts from the different domains to discuss above questions in interaction with the audience.

Jianyun Zhang (Nanjing Hydraulic Research Institute, Director of Yangtze Institute of Conservation and Green Development, China)
Ali Raza Rizvi (Program manager of Ecosystem based Adaptation of IUCN)
Marjolijn van Wijngaarden (Director of the strategic tendering office of Boskalis, Member of advisory board of Ecoshape)
Jennifer Sara (Global Director of the World bank Group’s Water Global Practices)