In December 2010 the United Nations General Assembly declared 2013 as the United Nations International Year of Water Cooperation, following a proposal by Tajikistan. Each year on 22 March, World Water Day highlights a specific aspect of freshwater. In 2013, in reflection of the International Year of Water Cooperation, World Water Day is also dedicated to the theme of cooperation around water and is coordinated by UNESCO in collaboration with UNECE and UNDESA on behalf of UN-Water.
Water, a vital resource unlike any other knows no borders. For example, 148 countries share at least one transboundary river basin.
As urbanisation, climate change and changing food needs put greater demand on freshwater supplies, the objective of the Year is to focus attention on the benefits of cooperation in water management. Successful examples of water cooperation will be highlighted as will areas that require improvement. But contrary to popular belief, positive examples of water cooperation outweigh water-related conflicts.
The benefits of water cooperation are vast but all water systems are very complicated and have numerous actors from users and managers to experts and decision-makers. But cooperation is imperative to ensure sustainable and equitable distribution of water and to promote and ensure peaceful relations with communities and neighbouring countries sharing a water source. This cooperation is facilitated at a local through to an international level.
Key messages for International Year of Water Cooperation
- Water cooperation is fundamental to security, poverty eradication, social equity and gender equality
- Water cooperation generates economic benefits
- Water cooperation is crucial to preserve water resources and protect the environment
- Water cooperation builds peace
- 85% of the world population lives in the driest half of the planet
- Six to eight million people die annually from the consequences of disasters and water-related diseases.
Over half of the world population lives in urban areas, and the number of urban dwellers grows each day. Urban areas, although better served than rural areas, are struggling to keep up with population growth (WHO/UNICEF, 2010).
Water availability is expected to decrease in many regions. Yet future global agricultural water consumption alone is estimated to increase by ~19% by 2050, and will be even greater in the absence of any technological progress or policy intervention.
How LIFESAVER is supporting the themes around World Water Day
LIFESAVER works with its partners and stakeholders to ensure its beneficiaries have a sustainable solution in accessing clean water. We often distribute our technology in times of conflict or suffering and find it creates a sense of shared need and community when used as a community water filtration solution. Our technology also gives women and children greater freedom encouraging increased social mobility with schooling and employment opportunities.
Logo and key information courtesy of http://www.unwater.org/water-cooperation-2013/home/en/