Water Cooperation for Peace and Development: The International Celebration of World Water Day 2013
On the occasion of World Water Day, 22 March, the IAEA participated in the International Celebration of World Water Day 2013 on Water Cooperation, in The Hague, the Netherlands. The celebration provided an opportunity for experts from international organizations, NGOs, the private sector and academia to come together to identify and discuss solutions to the water challenges of the future. Since the majority of water resources are shared through trans-boundary systems, including approximately 300 transboundary aquifer systems, water cooperation is a topic that will become increasingly important as water resources must be shared amongst growing populations.
With 782 million people worldwide without access to improved sources of drinking water and 2.5 billion without improved sanitation facilities, water access, quality and quantity pose serious hurdles for economic, social and human development. Hosted by the Government of the Netherlands, World Water Day provided a forum to identify the steps that can be taken to use water cooperation to eradicate poverty, create social and gender equity, bring about economic benefits, preserve water resources, protect the environment and build peace.
The Celebration was opened by the Mayor of The Hague, followed by a video message from Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr Ban Ki-moon, who spoke on the importance of water cooperation. This importance was further emphasized through statistics that show that one out of every three people live in a country facing moderate to high water stress, with the potential for half the global population to face water scarcity by 2030.
Through its work in nuclear techniques related to water, the IAEA plays an important role in evaluating and ensuring the sustainability of water resources. Providing tools, assistance and research, the IAEA delivers data on water contamination and availability for both surface water and groundwater. Through this assistance, Member States develop a clearer picture of the water resources available and an understanding of how to use these resources most efficiently. By building Member State capacity in water management, the IAEA contributes to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and the post-2015 development agenda.
Background: World Water Day is held annually on 22 March to bring attention to the importance of freshwater management and sustainable use. The theme of each year’s event is selected by UN-Water, and the day’s events are coordinated by UN-Water member organizations.