World Water Day Highlights Connections between Water and Energy

unido-water22 March 2014: Global commemoration of World Water Day (WWD) 2014, convened by UN-Water and the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), addressed the theme 'Water and Energy.' Celebrations included the presentation of the ‘Water for Life' UN-Water Best Practices Award and the launch of the World Water Development Report (WWDR) 2014 on water and energy.

World Water Day is marked annually on 22 March. This year's UN celebration took place on 21 March in Tokyo, Japan.

The ‘Water for Life' UN-Water Best Practices Award promotes fulfillment of international commitments on water before 2015. In the prize's first category - ‘best water management practices' - the International Water Management Institute (IWMI)-Tata Water Policy Programme (ITP) received the award for efforts to bridge gaps between science and policy-makers at the irrigation-energy nexus in India. In the second category - ‘best participatory, communication, awareness-raising and education practices' - the NEWater Programme in Singapore received the award for its water reuse and recycling programme, which has achieved wide-scale implementation and public engagement, to provide 30% of Singapore's water.

Launching the WWDR, World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Secretary-General and Chair of UN-Water Michel Jarraud said the report highlights that “water and energy are among the world's pre-eminent development challenges and must feature prominently in the post-2015 agenda.” The report, produced by the World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP), highlights the interdependence of water and energy and challenges posed by lack of coordination and planning between the two sectors.

Official celebrations also included launch of the Global Water Partnership's (GWP) ‘Towards 2020' strategy, presentation of country case studies from the WWDR, a panel on addressing the water-energy nexus and the role and sustainability of hydropower from freshwater reservoirs, and a high-level policy panel on the water-energy nexus within the post-2015 development agenda and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In addition, a vision for the 7th World Water Forum was outlined, and the  Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) awarded the Stockholm Water Prize to John Briscoe for his research on water resources management and development, including on access to safe drinking water and sanitation. On 20 March the UN-Water Decade Programme on Advocacy and Communication (UNW-DPAC) and the Asia Pacific Regional Symposium: Water-Energy Nexus in Asia facilitated a workshop for journalists.

Many UN agencies and programmes were involved in the observance of WWD 2014, including the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Food and Agricultural Organization of the UN (FAO), UNW-DPAC, UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), UN University Institute for Water, Environment and Health (UNU-INWEH), and the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF).

In addition to the official celebrations, the FAO launched a set of interactive maps in AQUASTAT, the FAO's global water information system. The UN-Water Decade Programme on Capacity Development (UNW-DPC) dedicated the 18th edition of its online newsletter ‘Capacity Pool' to the theme of water and energy, including stories on: understanding water and energy linkages; progress update on a dedicated water goal in the post-2015 development agenda; expert opinions on capacity development in the water and energy sectors; and a UNW-DPC expert contribution on meeting water and energy challenges. ESCAP hosted a regional celebration of WWD 2014 for Asia and the Pacific, which included a panel discussion on water and energy and a talk on ‘Integrated Resource Management in Asian Cities - The Urban Nexus.'

A number of international organizations and others also took part, including the International Energy Agency (IEA), the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Secretariat, the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands Secretariat, the World Bank, the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the African Development Bank (AfDB), the African Water Facility (AWF), the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the African Ministerial Council on Water (AMCOW), the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI), the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR), the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), the GWP, the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP), the World Water Council (WWC), SIWI, IWMI, the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

Communities around the world also held events including Walk for Water events, river cleanups, symposiums, art and theater projects, and advocacy campaigns around access to water, and water and energy. [WWD Website] [WWD Press Release] [UNESCO Message] [UNESCO Press Release, 3 March] [UNESCO Press Release, 21 March] [World Water Development Report 2014: Water and Energy] [UNESCO-IHE Press Release] [FAO Pamphlet] [FAO Water Webpage] [AQUASTAT Maps] [UN-Water Press Release, 21 March] [UN-Water Press Release on WWDR 2014 Launch] [UN-Water Press Release, 20 March] [Capacity Pool] [UN-DPAC Webpage] [UN-DPAC Press Release] [ESCAP Press Release, 21 March] [UNESCAP Press Release, 19 March] [ESCWA Press Release] [UNIDO Press Release] [IEA Press Release] [UNU-INWEH Press Release] [CBD Statement] [Ramsar Statement] [World Bank Water Blog] [GEF Webpage for WWD] [GEF Press Release] [AfDB Press Release, 22 March] [AfDB Press Release, 18 March] [AWF Press Release] [ADB Blog] [IFAD Webpage for WWD] [GWP Press Release] [GWP-Caribbean Press Release] [WWC Press Release] [SIWI Stockholm Water Prize Press Release] [SIWI Press Release] [IWMI Press Release, 22 March] [IWMI Press Release, 21 March] [CGIAR Blog] [SEI Press Release] [OSCE Press Release] [OECD Op-Ed] [AMCOW Statement] [UNU Press Release] [ICRC Press Release] [ICIMOD Press Release, 22 March] [ICIMOD Article] [NBI Press Release] [REEEP Press Release] [UNICEF Press Release] [ICPDR Press Release]