In December 2010, the United Nations General Assembly declared 2013 as the United Nations International Year of Water Cooperation (Resolution A/RES/65/154). In reflection of this declaration, the 2013 World Water Day, which will take place on 22 March 2013, will also be dedicated to the International Year of Water Cooperation.
Rapid population growth and impacts of economic growth are expected to cause significant increases in global demand for food, water and energy resources (World Economic Forum, 2008), changes in the quality of ecosystems and an increased number of countries with multiple challenges. These dynamics are all affecting regional water security and scarcity, demanding high water utilization and water quality. The Asia Pacific region is also insecure due to natural disasters, causing vulnerabilities within flood- prone, cyclone-prone, drought-prone zone countries, due to elevated climate change risks affecting ecosystems, poor access to drinking water and poor access to sanitation.
The scale and complexity of these issues requires strategic visioning and a coherent and integrated approach, including the need for trans-boundary cooperation. The outcome document of Rio + 20 “The Future We Want” has underlined the need for international assistance and cooperation. Regional cooperation is particularly important to address concerns on the slow and uneven progress in achieving the MDG goal of halving the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation. A number of practical solutions of integration and cooperation have been operationalised in the region, including efficient and measurable ways to build capacity to implement innovative solutions for region-wide economic prosperity, social progress and environmental sustainability.
In this regard, ESCAP, together with relevant governmental and international organizations, will organize the commemoration of World Water Day on 22 March 2013 to recognize the crucial role that the International Year of Water Cooperation could play, inter alia, in strengthening dialogue and cooperation at all levels.
The objective of this event is to raise awareness, both on the potential for increased cooperation, and on the challenges facing water management in light of the increase in demand for water access, allocation and services. Globally, water cooperation is presented as a foundation for peace and sustainable development since water cooperation contributes to poverty reduction and social equity and gender, creates economic benefits, helps preserve water resources and protect the environment and builds peace.
Regionally, the WWD 2013 will highlight the importance of the 2nd Asia Pacific Water Summit (APWS), hosted by the Government of Thailand, to be held on the 19-20 May, 2013 in Chiang Mai, Thailand, under the theme “Water Security and Water-related Disaster Challenges: Leadership and Commitment”
For previous World Water Day events, please click the below:-