In October 2006, Meridian Institute convened the International Workshop on Nanotechnology, Water, and Development in Chennai, India. The workshop sought to address the potential opportunities and risks of nanotechnology water purification technologies for developing countries. It also aimed to develop recommendations that would inform decisions and catalyze actions by stakeholders (e.g., water experts, development experts, governments, nongovernmental organizations, companies, universities, international institutions, donors) involved with (a) nanotechnology research and development efforts relevant to providing clean water in developing countries and (b) activities to address potential environmental, health, safety, socio-economic, and other issues related to the use of nanotechnology in water treatment devices. In preparation for the workshop, Meridian commissioned and published a paper on nanotechnology, water, and development that is available online.
Workshop participants from developed and developing countries and with a broad range of perspectives and expertise discussed the challenges people in developing countries may face when developing and implementing strategies for improving basic sanitation and access to clean water. Building on a shared understanding of these challenges, participants discussed opportunities for using nanotechnology to address water supply and sanitation challenges, and risks and other issues that need to be addressed in relation to specific nanotechnology applications. A summary of the workshop can be found online.
The workshop was one of several activities in Meridian Institute’s Global Dialogue on Nanotechnology and the Poor: Opportunities and Risks (GDNP), which was designed to close the gap between people working on nanotechnology and those working on international development.