UNESCO Holds Fifth Regional Groundwater Governance Consultation for UNECE Region

UNESCO22 March 2013: The International Hydrological Programme (IHP) of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) organized a UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) regional consultation, which discussed UNECE regional priorities and needs, with the broader aim of improving governance for groundwater resources and aquifers, raising awareness on a global groundwater agenda, and building partnerships across decision makers and stakeholders.

The consultation, which tool place in The Hague, the Netherlands, from 19-21 March 2013, was the fifth in a series of regional consultations as part of the “Groundwater Governance: A Call for Action” project. It was attended by over 80 participants, and included plenary and technical working sessions on groundwater governance, with a focus on the characteristics, challenges, priorities and visions of the UNECE region.

A roundtable, titled “Working Hand in Hand for Groundwater Governance,” organized in celebration of the International Year of Water Cooperation 2013, discussed, inter alia: cooperation with the private sector to enhance groundwater governance; data cooperation and information sharing; and partnerships and support. Recommendations from the consultation are expected to contribute to the development of a global “Framework for Action,” which will provide policy makers with science-based guidelines for decision making on groundwater governance.

UNESCO-IHP, UNECE, the International Groundwater Resources Assessment Centre (IGRAC), the Netherlands National Commission for UNESCO and the Netherlands' IHP National Committee co-organized the meeting.

The Global Environment Facility (GEF), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), the World Bank, UNESCO and the International Association of Hydrogeologists (IAH) initiated the project, which aims to increase awareness on sound management of groundwater resources to prevent and reverse global water crises. Regional consultations were held in 2012 for Latin America and Caribbean, sub-Saharan Africa, the Arab States, and Asia and the Pacific. [UNESCO Press Release[Consultation Concept Note[Roundtable Concept Note] [IISD RS Story on Regional Reports on Consultations] [IISD RS Consultation in Arab States]