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World Water Day
22 March

UNESCO Director-General's Message

This World Water Day occurs during the 2013 International Year of Water
Cooperation. With this, Member States agreed on the importance of water
cooperation for human health and well-being, for achieving the Millennium
Development Goals, and for lasting peace and sustainable development.

The International Year of Water Cooperation is guided by the slogan -- “water,
water everywhere, only if we share”. This includes the management of
transboundary waters between countries – it means also sharing water between
different uses and varied users inside national borders. We need stronger water
governance between and within States.

Cooperation must be our byword. This is essential to preserve our ecosystems, to
eradicate poverty and to advance social equity, including gender equality. Women
are key actors -- we must empower them fully with the rights to match their
responsibilities. Ensuring equality in access to and control over water resources is
important for the well-being of current and future generations.

Water challenges are complex -- solutions must be equally multi-faceted. This calls
for innovative thinking and cooperation across the board. For this, UNESCO
pursues a wide angle, drawing on its International Hydrological Programme as well
as its 29 water-related Chairs and 18 water-related centres. These include the IHEInstitute
for Water Education, in the Netherlands, which has trained 15,000 water
professionals from 160 countries since 1957.

Water cooperation is not a technical or scientific issue. This is about fighting poverty
and protecting the environment. It is about laying the foundations for sustainable
development and lasting peace.

Governments must commit to finding inclusive and cooperative solutions to water
challenges. For this, we must take decisions that involve all relevant actors, from
investors to users. Each of us is concerned, and we are all responsible. Water
cooperation is not an option – it is an imperative for a better future for all.

Irina Bokova

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