MARCH 2009—In the lead up to this month's World Water Forum in Istanbul, pressing concerns about safe drinking water and adequate sanitation are finally garnering the political attention they deserve. According to water experts Geoff Dabelko and Aaron Salzberg, the next challenge is to broaden the view of water beyond human health. Water is also intimately connected to education, agriculture, poverty, ecosystem services, culture, and security, they asserted at a recent discussion at The Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).

In the face of these multiple roles, how can water be raised to a stand-alone priority, while simultaneously mainstreaming it across government sectors? Dabelko and Salzberg, head of the Interagency Working Group on Water at the U.S. Department of State, answered this and many other questions during a session on "Water and International Development" (streaming audio).

For the 2008–09 academic year, SAIS, along with the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the Woodrow Wilson Center, is examining the critical role of water throughout the world. Recent speakers include PepsiCo International CEO Michael White, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers expert Jerome delli Priscoli, and CSIS Vice President Erik Peterson. SAIS and CSIS will co-host a two-day conference on "Water and Agriculture: Implications for Development and Growth," on March 30-31.

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