Erika Zárate (GSI-CH), participates in one of the sessions at the AWS Global Water Stewardship Forum


The first global AWS forum took place in Edinburgh (Scotland) November 1st and 2nd. It was a great opportunity to evaluate the progress of the system and the AWS International Water Stewardship Standard and identify opportunities and challenges in the future. GSI is currently contributing its experience and knowledge for the implementation and promotion of the standard in Europe and Spain and also participated actively. Below we share with you some of the outcomes from the forum.

  • The need to work with supply chains from farmers to sellers is very high. The AWS Standard provides a framework that allows stakeholders to take concrete measures at the river basin level in complex supply chains. In other words, AWS links both ends of the supply chain
  • The AWS standard addresses directly or indirectly the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (ODS) and is contributing to a greater or lesser extent to 55 out of the 169 targets set for the different objectives.
  • Collaboration between different initiatives is a key factor. Existing sectoral standards agree on one point: It is necessary to take into account the impacts that the site and other activities have on the watershed, and vice versa. It was acknowledged that he AWS standard helps to create coherence among the different initiatives without substituting efforts.
  • The AWS standard is a framework that can be adapted to any organization, public or private. In many cases, organizations have taken various actions for the sustainable use of water that already have a place within the AWS standard. The AWS standard thus allows for addressing different reputational, financial, regulatory or environmental risks, without duplicating efforts.
  • The AWS system is being strengthened thanks to the experiences it is gaining in different parts of the world. By 2017, it is expected that about 70-80 companies will be certified to add to the current experiences, and many others are already applying the standard in their operations without seeking certification. Local lessons learned will strengthen the global structure, following a bottom-up process during the standard revision process that will kick off in 2017.
  • The AWS standard strengthens governance at the catchment level by integrating and involving different water users; from companies or farmers to NGOs, river basin authorities, public entities and managers of the integral water cycle. Through such governance it will be possible to influence policies focused on the best use of water.

For the GSI team, it was a great opportunity to see how their strategic orientation as experts in water, environment and agriculture fits perfectly with the future challenges related to water, climate change or sustainable development. For more information, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . More information on AWS can be found on the AWS website: