As in the past, the United Nations Economic
and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) commemorated
the annual World Water Day at the United Nations Conference Centre
on 22 March 2002. The United
Nations Information Services (UNIS) coordinated this event. This
annual event was initiated at the Rio Conference on Environment and
Development and has been held since 1992 to commemorate the importance
of water and emphasize the development and management of water resources.
The theme for this year was "Water for Development".
Ms. Keiko Okaido, Deputy Executive Secretary
of ESCAP, welcomed the participants and conveyed the
statement of the Secretary-General of the United Nations on the World
Water Day. Mr. Ravi Sawhney, Director, Environment and Natural
Resources Development Division, ESCAP, in his welcoming remarks underscored
the need to create awareness of the scarcity of water resources, especially
drinking water, regardless of the size of the countries.
This year's programme included panel discussions addressing three important issues: water
sources and resources for development; water and conflict; and water
conservation. For the first time at a World Water Day, part of the
exhibition was organized by a local gallery presenting paintings on
water, which was opened by Ms. Keiko Okaido to reflect the theme of
"Water for Development".
The morning session proceeded with a
video presentation "Mekong: the Mother", followed by two
panel discussions on "Perspectives on Water Sources and Resources
for Development" and "Water and Conflict".
The afternoon session included a special
programme with presentations for students, which was opened by Mr.
Gamini Abeysekera, UNICEF Representative for Thailand. The presentations
were "Youth Forum of the Third World Water Forum", "The
Chao Phraya River" and "the Importance of Freshwater".
Students from Thai universities and local NGOs participated in the
event with great enthusiasm.
Mr. Joern Kristensen, Chief Executive
Officer of Mekong River Commission, made a presentation on "Development
perspectives and update" on the Mekong River and discussed issues
on "Transboundary cooperation and complications" and promoting
harmonious way of sharing the Mekong River among upstream and downstream
countries. Mr. Mazakazu Kashio, Forest Resources Officer for Asia
and the Pacific, FAO/RAPA, and Mr. Cihat H. Basocak, GIS Specialist,
ENRDD, presented and shared information on forests and watersheds.
The participants enjoyed a slide presentation of river scenes along
the Chao Phraya River, and a discussion on man's impact on river ecology
and morphology by Mr. Steve van Beek, author and explorer.
On the topic of "Water and Conflict",
Dr. Soparat Charusombat, Department of Political Science, Thammasat
University and Mr. Le Huu Ti, Economic Affairs Officer, ENRDD discussed
"Peace perspective on water conflicts" and "Negotiating
over water - from potential conflict to cooperation potential"
respectively, and then answered questions raised by the audience.
Water related matters on Information Receipt and Dissemination at
the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD)
were presented by Ms. Nira Gurung, Distribution Officer, ICIMOD. Ms.
Shinobu Fukumoto, Secretariat of Third World Water Forum, Tokyo, gave
a slide presentation and briefed the participants with an update of
World Water Forum and the Youth Forum, to be held in Japan 2003.
Mr. Wolfgang Grabs, Head, Hydrology and Water Resources Department,
World Meteorological Organization (WMO) shared information on the
"Water cycle, earth, rains and floods". This was followed
by "The Chao Phraya River Basin Study", presented by Mr.
Surapol Pattanee, Director of Policy and Planning at the Office of
National Water Resources Committee, Office of the Prime Minister,
The World Water Day 2002 successfully
concluded with an animated cartoon The Adventures of Captain H2O in
"Use Water Wisely", presented by Mr. Yuri N. Steklov, ENRDD,
to promote awareness of the importance of freshwater for the "International
Year of Freshwater" in 2003. More than 300 participants from
various diplomatic and consular missions, UN agencies, NGOs, international
organizations, government ministries and students from universities
and colleges attended the event.
For previous World Water Day events, please click the below:-
IAEA.ORG (World Water Day 2002)