UN International Year of Water Cooperation 2013 Launched

IYWC 201311 February 2013: Highlighting the importance of cooperation to address freshwater management challenges, ensure access to water for all, conserve ecosystems and prevent conflict over transboundary resources, the UN International Year of Water Cooperation (IYWC) was launched at the headquarters of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Paris, France.

The year was officially launched by UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova and UN-Water Chair and Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Michel Jarraud, during a high-level event that took place on 11 February 2013. The event included participants from governments, communities, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), UN organizations, eminent persons and youth.

The event covered a range of issues including: how water cooperation can best contribute to the post-2015 Global Agenda on Sustainable Development so as to effectively address the needs of societies; harnessing cooperation at all levels to address water-related challenges, such as through regional cooperative mechanisms, government action at the national level, action at the local level, and cooperation at the basin level; and science, capacity building and partnerships.

During the launch ceremony, the IYWC slogan “water, water everywhere, only if we share” was announced. The slogan was chosen out of over 12,000 submitted during a worldwide contest, with the winning slogan being presented by its creator Megha Kumar, India.

Among various statements, Gretchen Kalonji, Assistant Director-General for Natural Sciences, UNESCO, said cooperation “would mean convincing the food, water and energy sectors to work together, rather than in silos. It will take strong institutions at both the national and international levels to satisfy competing demands and defuse tension when it arises.” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed water holds the key to sustainable development and called on those “upstream and downstream and across borders, to cooperate for the benefit for all, now and in the future,” emphasizing that IYWC provides the opportunity to catalyze cooperative action on freshwater management.

IYWC 2013 was declared by the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in 2010, as proposed by Tajikistan, in order to raise awareness on the importance of water cooperation. UN-Water named UNESCO as the lead organization on IYWC 2013. [UNESCO Press Release: Working Together to Provide Water For All] [UNESCO Press Release: Launch Water Cooperation 2013] [UNESCO-IHE Press Release] [IYWC Water Cooperation 2013 Newsletter, 8 February 2013] [UN Secretary-General Video Message “IYWC 2013”] [UN Secretary-General's Message] [WMO Press Release] [UNESCO Press Release: Water, Water Everywhere, Only if we Share] [UN Press Release]