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  1. 3/15/2013 WORLD WATER DAY 2013: INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF WATER COOPERATION
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    World Water Day takes place annually on 22 March. It focuses the attention of the world on the importance of freshwater resources in our lives and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources.
     
    Each year, World Water Day highlights a specific aspect of freshwater. In 2013, in reflection of the International Year of Water Cooperation, World Water Day is also dedicated to the theme of cooperation around water.
     
    The fulfillment of basic human needs, our environment, socio-economic development and poverty reduction are all heavily dependent on water. Good management of water is especially challenging due to some of its unique characteristics: it is unevenly distributed in time and space, the hydrological cycle is highly complex and perturbations have multiple effects. Rapid urbanization, pollution and climate change threaten the resource while demands for water are increasing in order to satisfy the needs of a growing world population, now at over seven billion people, for food production, energy, industrial and domestic uses. Water is a shared resource and its management needs to take into account a wide variety of conflicting interests. This provides opportunities for cooperation among users.
     
    In designating 2013 as the UN International Year of Water Cooperation, the UN General Assembly recognizes that cooperation is essential to strike a balance between the different needs and priorities and share this precious resource equitably, using water as an instrument of peace.
     
    Water, a vital resource unlike any other knows no borders. For instance, 148 countries share at least one transboundary river basin. Promoting water cooperation implies an interdisciplinary approach bringing in cultural, educational and scientific factors, as well as religious, ethical, social, political, legal, institutional and economic dimensions.
     
    As rapid urbanization, climate change and growing food needs put ever-increasing pressure on freshwater resources, the objective of the Year is to draw attention to the benefits of cooperation in water management. It will serve to highlight successful examples of water cooperation and explore the key issues listed below:
     
    • Water cooperation builds peace
    Access to water can be a source of a conflict, but it is also a catalyst for cooperation and peace building. Cooperation on such a practical and vital issue as water management and drinking water supply and sanitation services can help overcome cultural, political and social tensions, and can also build trust and social peace between different groups; genders, communities, regions or states.
     
    • Water cooperation is key to socioeconomic development, poverty eradication, social equity, gender equality and environmental sustainability
    Universal access to efficient drinking water supply and sanitation services is the foundation for the fulfillment of basic human needs and contributes to the achievement of all the Millennium Development Goals. Inclusive, participatory and gender sensitive governance of water and cooperation between different stakeholders can help to overcome inequity and prevent conflicts in access to water and thus contribute to poverty eradication, socioeconomic development and improve the living conditions and educational chances, especially of women and children.
     
    • Water cooperation creates tangible economic benefits
    All economic activities depend on water. Cooperation can lead to a more efficient and sustainable use of water resources, e.g. through joint management plans creating mutual benefits and better living conditions, and gender sensitive water governance.
     
    • Water cooperation is crucial to preserve water resources, ensure their sustainability and protect the environment
    Water cooperation makes possible and promotes the exchange of scientific knowledge, including gender disaggregated data and information, management strategies and best practices, which is fundamental for the protection of the environment and to achieve sustainable development.
     
    To receive additional information on World Water Day and why water cooperation is important, click on the picture below to view this year’s brochure or you can visit the organization’s website here.