Events archives for 2013

Workshop: Water in the post-2015 development agenda: Finalizing the UN-Water paper and follow-up actions

UN-Water logo Date: 16-17 December 2013
Place: Palais des Nations, Geneva, Switzerland
Organizer: UN-Water

This workshop served as a final step in the process of developing the UN-Water paper on a global water goal for the post-2015 development agenda. During the workshop, participants also discussed UN-Water follow-up action related to national consultations, data collection, monitoring and reporting and other aspects in relation to water goal implementation.


Near East & North Africa Land and Water Days

Near East & North Africa Land and Water Days Date: 15-18 December 2013
Venue: Hotel Le Meridien Amman, Jordan
Organizer: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

The inherent scarcity of land and water resources in the Near East and the North Africa (NENA) Region is accentuated by the looming threat of climate change and unprecedented levels of pressure on natural resources stemming from persistent high population growth, inadequate consumption patterns and rapid urbanization. The achievement of effective and sustainable management of land and water is thus critical for food security in the Region. This event focused on land and water management – technologies, approaches and modalities, to secure sustained improvements on the ground and improved resilience.


International Mountain Day. Mountains: Key to a Sustainable Future

Logo of International Mountain Day. Mountains: Key to a Sustainable Future Date: 11 December 2013
Place: All around the world

Mountains are crucial to life. Mountains provide most of the world's freshwater, harbour a rich variety of plants and animals, and are home to one in ten people. Yet, each day, environmental degradation, the consequences of climate change, exploitative mining, armed conflict, poverty and hunger threaten the extraordinary web of life that the mountains support. International Mountain Day is an opportunity to create awareness about the importance of mountains to life, to highlight the opportunities and constraints in mountain development and to build partnerships that will bring positive change to the world’s mountains and highlands.
>> Access to a selection of UN publications on mountains and water


Human Rights Day

20th anniversary of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Date: 10 December 2013
Place: All around the world

Human Rights Day brings to the attention of the world’s people the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as the common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations. With the recognition in July 2010 of the human right to water and sanitation by the UN General Assembly there is certainly much to do to ensure its achievement.
>> Information on the human right to water and sanitation


6th session of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals

Logo of the United Nations Date: 9-13 December 2013
Place: UN Headquarters, New York, USA

The 6th session of the OWG on Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) focused on the means of implementation (science and technology, knowledge-sharing and capacity building). It addressed issues related to the needs of countries in special situations (Africa, Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States) as well as specific challenges facing the middle-income countries and focus on human rights, the right to development and global governance.
On 9 December, UN-Water organized a side-event on “The UN-Water goal proposal on water, targets, indicators and data requirements”PDF document which focused on measurability and means of implementation of a dedicated water goal in the post-2015 development agenda.
>> Side eventsPDF document


Closing Ceremony of the International Year of Water Cooperation

Logo of the International Year of Water Cooperation Date: 5-6 December 2013
Place: Mexico City, Mexico
 

The International Year of Water Cooperation comes to its end. Among many of the goals achieved, the Year has provided a means to strengthening the dialogue and cooperation with key stakeholders, at all levels. The closing ceremony provided a synthesis of the major achievements of the International Year, explored modalities to further foster water cooperation and settled the agenda for its follow-up.

The Closing Ceremony was organized by UNESCO on behalf of UN-Water with the support of the Government of Mexico through the National Water Commission (CONAGUA). The Ceremony included high level panels on the global perspectives of water security and cooperation, on the milestone events and on UN activities that took place during the Year.

Round tables discussions on the key messages of the International Year were held and the ceremony concluded with the spotlight on the way ahead, including a focus on water in the preparations for the post-2015 development agenda.
>>More information


2nd Global Water Operators’ Partnerships Congress

2nd Global Water Operators’ Partnerships Congress. Date: 27-29 November 2013
Place: Barcelona, Spain
Organisers: Global Water Operators' Partnerships Alliance (GWOPA)

This Congress brought together utilities, water operators practitioners, donors, knowledge institutions and interested stakeholders to exchange experience, advance knowledge and initiate action on Water Operators’ Partnerships. On the third day of the Congress, the Global Water Operators’ Partnerships Alliance General Assembly was hel.
>> More information


3rd session of the Meeting of the Parties to the Protocol on Water and Health

UNECE logo. Date: 25-27 November 2013
Place: Oslo, Norway
Organizers: UNECE and WHO Regional Office for Europe

This meeting was dedicated to the review of activities over the past three years and discussion of future activities in different areas of work under the Protocol, such as activities on target setting and reporting, surveillance and early-warning systems, contingency plans and response capacities, small-scale water supplies and sanitation and equitable access to water and sanitation. A special session on equitable access to drinking water and sanitation was organized during the high-level segment on the first day of the meeting. This session addressed progress made in the pan-European region in advancing universal access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation.


Workshop on "Beyond the WASH Agenda: Strengthening Capacity for Water Resources Management in the post-2015 Development Agenda"

United Nations logo. Date: 25-27 November 2013
Place: Church Centre, New York, USA
Organizers: United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA)

This technical workshop brought together senior-level water managers, economic planners and statistical experts to: (1) Share experiences and lessons on, and identify the challenges to, linking IWRM to national planning, budgeting and priority setting; (2) Improve understanding of why managing and developing water resources wisely is key to the MDGs, and why a more holistic water agenda beyond WASH (WASH-Plus) is crucial for the post-2015 development framework; (3) Explore how existing initiatives progressing measures beyond GDP support linking IWRM and national development planning process; and (4) Identify actions and capacity development needs for implementing a WASH-Plus agenda in the post-2015 development framework.


5th session of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals

United Nations. Logo Date: 25-27 November 2013
Place: UN Headquarters, New York, USA

One of the main outcomes of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), held in Rio de Janeiro in June 2012, was the agreement by Member States to launch a process to develop a set of sustainable development goals (SDGs). A 30-member Open Working Group (OWG) of the General Assembly is tasked with preparing a proposal on the SDGs.

The 5th session of the OWG addressed issues related to sustained and inclusive economic growth, macroeconomic policy questions (including international trade, international financial system and external debt sustainability), infrastructure development and industrialization. Various side-events addressed water issues.
>> More information
>> Programme of side-eventsPDF document


Expert Group Meeting on the Guidelines for the Compilation of Water Accounts and Statistics

United Nations. Logo Date: 20-22 November 2013
Place: New York, USA
Organisers: United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD)

Experts in environmental-economic accounts for water and water statistics from countries and international/regional organizations met to review and discuss the guidelines for the compilation of water accounts and statistics. The guidelines provided country experts and trainers with a comprehensive and reliable set of materials for assisting the staff of national statistics offices, water ministries, and agencies and other stakeholders in countries, with the process of implementation of water accounts and statistics for developing a monitoring system for water policies.
>> More information


World Toilet Day

World Toilet Day Date: 19 November 2013
Place: All around the world

This international day of action aims to break the taboo around toilets and draw attention to the global sanitation challenge. Celebrated since 2001, the day has been recognized in 2013 by the United Nations General Assembly.

Today, 2.5 of the world's seven billion people, mostly in rural areas, do not have proper sanitation and 1.1 billion people still defecate in the open. This has significant impacts on human health, dignity and security, the environment, and social and economic development. The countries where open defecation is most widely practiced are the same countries with the highest mortality rate of children under five, high levels of undernutrition and poverty, and large wealth disparities.

You can participate by attending one of the many official World Toilet Day (WTD) events taking place worldwide or through the virtual social media campaign to highlight the plight of the 2.5 billion people without access to a clean, private toilet.

>> UN General Assembly Resolution proclaiming World Toilet Day
>> UN Secretary-General's Message for WTD
>> More information on WTD on UN website
>> Web section dedicated to WTD on UN-Water website
>> More resources on The Sanitation Drive to 2015 website
>> World Toilet Day website


International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict

Aerial view of burnt and abandoned homesteads on the outskirts of Abyei town following an attack by the northern Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) over the weekend. UN Photo/Stuart Price Date: 6 November 2013
Place: All around the world

According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), over the last 60 years, at least 40 percent of all internal conflicts have been linked to the exploitation of natural resources, whether high-value resources such as timber, diamonds, gold and oil, or scarce resources such as fertile land and water. Conflicts involving natural resources have also been found to be twice as likely to relapse.

In 2001, the UN General Assembly declared 6 November of each year as the International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict.

Though mankind has always counted its war casualties in terms of dead and wounded soldiers and civilians, destroyed cities and livelihoods, the environment has often remained the unpublicized victim of war. Water wells have been polluted, crops torched, forests cut down, soils poisoned, and animals killed to gain military advantage.

The United Nations attaches great importance to ensuring that action on the environment is part of conflict prevention, peacekeeping and peacebuilding strategies - because there can be no durable peace if the natural resources that sustain livelihoods and ecosystems are destroyed.
>> More info
>> Access to a selection of UN publications on water and conflicts


Africa Regional Consultative Meeting on the Sustainable Development Goals

Sustainable Development Goals. Date: 31 October – 5 November 2013
Place: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Organisers: United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the African Union Commission (AUC) and the African Development Bank (AfDB)

This meeting will provide a platform for African countries to identify, articulate and reach consensus on the region's sustainable development priorities and goals, which will take into account those emerging from the region's Post-2015 Development Agenda Process embodied in the African common position on the same. The consultative meeting is expected to adopt an outcome document that will serve as Africa's common reference document and collective input to the work of the UN General Assembly Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


E-discussion to feed in to the UN Special Rapporteur's handbook for realising the rights to water and sanitation

Two-year-old Ismael Adam receives a drink of water from his kin and caretaker Kariya Mohamed Abbakar, a 50-year-old native of Jebel Saiey, North Darfur, who has been living in the Abu Shouk Camp for internally displaced persons (IDP) near El Fasher for the past 10 years. UN Photo/Albert Gonzalez Farran. Date: 28 October – 15 November 2013
Place: Online
Organiser: Rural Water Supply Network

The UN Special Rapporteur on the right to water and sanitation is writing a handbook to provide practical guidance on how to realise the rights to water and sanitation. This three-week e-discussion will provide an opportunity to discuss specific aspects of realising the right as discussed in the handbook. The e-discussion will focus on three areas: (1) non-discrimination, how stakeholders can ensure inclusion of disadvantaged individuals and groups; (2) sustainability; how stakeholders engage for long-term and affordable access to services; and (3) the specific roles and responsibilities that the discussants have to realise the rights to water and sanitation.
>> Register for the e-discussion


World Food Day 2013: Healthy people depend on Healthy food systems

Roundtable discussion on the Right to Water and Sanitation. Date: 25 October 2013
Place: UNESCO's headquarters
Organisers: Permanent Delegation of Germany to UNESCO, UNESCO/IHP

This meeting, which will be opened by the Director General of UNESCO, is a joint contribution to the International Year of Water Cooperation and will focus on the key message that water cooperation is a key to poverty eradication, social equity and gender equality. The roundtable will include a panel discussion with legal and technical experts.


5th South Asian Conference on Sanitation (SACOSAN): Sanitation for All, All for Sanitation

5th South Asian Conference on Sanitation (SACOSAN): Sanitation for All, All for Sanitation Date: 22-24 October 2013
Place: Kathmandu, Nepal

The United Nations estimates that, by the end of 2011, there were 2.5 billion people who still did not use an improved sanitation facility.

The SACOSAN process is instrumental in generating political will towards better sanitation in South Asia. This governmental regional conference intended to accelerate progress in sanitation and hygiene promotion in South Asia and to enhance people's quality of life. The conference also aimed to promote an exchange of experiences and to set future actions for the participant countries.

There were eight different technical sessions covering various sanitation issues, including: Sanitation and Health; Community Wide Sanitation and Sustainability; School Sanitation; Reaching the Unreached; Sanitation Technology and Marketing; Urban Sanitation; Knowledge Management and Networking; Media Advocacy and Sanitation. In addition, the second day of the conference saw Ministers from Member States participating in a two hour session where they provided commentary on expert presentations.

Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka were the participating countries. Different UN agencies such as UNICEF and WHO also participated.
>> Access the conference website


Online training course "Introduction to Water Diplomacy"

Online training course Introduction to Water Diplomacy. Logo. Date: 21 October - 17 November 2013
Place: Online
Organisers: United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and UNESCO (IHP/WWAP)

In light of the 2013 International Year of Water Cooperation, this course aims at raising awareness on the current state of freshwater resources worldwide and the need for adequate diplomatic solutions to stimulate cooperation around the way the resource is managed. It will provide knowledge resources, circumstantial experiences and a cadre of tools to water-relevant stakeholders so as to enhance their ability to assess, prevent, and respond to the tensions arising from situations of water scarcity and mismanagement worldwide.


World Food Day 2013: Healthy people depend on Healthy food systems

World Food Day 2013: Healthy people depend on Healthy food systems Date: 16 October 2013
Place: All around the world

Today almost 870 million people worldwide are chronically undernourished. Unsustainable models of development are degrading the natural environment, threatening ecosystems and biodiversity that will be needed for our future food supply. The crop and livestock sectors use 70 percent of freshwater resources and, together with forestry, occupy 60 percent of the Earth's land surface. Every aspect of the food system has an effect on the final availability and accessibility of diverse, nutritious foods. What would a sustainable food system look like? Is it possible to get from here to there? What would need to change to move us in that direction? World Food Day 2013 is an opportunity to explore these and other questions.


Global Handwashing Day

Global Handwashing Day Date: 15 October 2013
Place: All around the world

Handwashing with soap is the most effective and inexpensive way to prevent diarrheal and acute respiratory infections, which take the lives of millions of children in developing countries every year. Yet, despite its lifesaving potential, handwashing with soap is seldom practiced and difficult to promote.

Global Handwashing Day was originally created for children and schools, but can be celebrated by anyone promoting handwashing with soap. The 2013 theme is "The power is in your hands", because everyone has the power to create healthier communities through handwashing with soap.
>> Visit Global Handwashing Day (GHWD) website
>>Download GHWD Planner's Guide


International Day for Disaster Reduction 2013

International Day for Disaster Reduction 2013 Date: 13 October 2013
Place: All around the world

International Day for Disaster Reduction (IDDR) offers an opportunity to promote a global culture of disaster reduction, including disaster prevention, mitigation and preparedness. IDDR is a day to celebrate how people and communities are reducing their risk to disasters and raising awareness about the importance of disaster risk reduction. It's also a day to encourage every citizen and government to take part in building more disaster resilient communities and nations. The 2013 theme for the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction is "Living with disability and disasters".


2013 Budapest Water Summit: The Role of Water and Sanitation in the Global Sustainable Development Agenda

2013 Budapest Water Summit: The Role of Water and Sanitation in the Global Sustainable Development Agenda. Logo Date: 8-11 October 2013
Place: Budapest, Hungary
Organizers: Government of Hungary in collaboration with the World Water Council and UNESCO

The objective of this high-level summit was to take stock of the various developments, in and outside the UN system, in preparing water-related goals for the post Rio+20 development agenda.

The Budapest Water Summit was envisaged as a policy forum to facilitate consensus building amongst stakeholders concerning water and sanitation policy goals. During these four days governments (from developed and developing countries), international organisations, financial institutions, businesses as well as civil society and science are gathered in Budapest to discuss the most pressing challenges of water and sanitation. The Summit strived to provide defining contributions to the elaboration of one overarching SMART (Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely) Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) on water and sanitation that corresponds and responds to multidimensional challenges.

Areas covered include: Striving for universal access to water and sanitation; Integrated Water Resources Management for the 21st century; Good water governance; Green economy for blue water; Investment and financing of the implementation of water and sanitation Sustainable Development Goals.

Mr. Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary General, participated in the opening. Mr. Wu Hongbo, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, also attended the Summit.

On the occasion of the Summit, UN-Water organize a Side Event on 9 October: "Policy Dialogue on an Emerging Proposal for a Dedicated Global Goal on Water, Targets and Indicators". The event discussed UN-Water's proposal for a Global Goal on Water.
>> Access the conference website
>>More information about UN-Water side event at the SummitPDF document


World Tourism Day 2013: Tourism and Water

World Tourism Day 2013: Tourism and Water Date: 27 September 2013
Place: The Maldives and all around the world

In line with the 2013 United Nations International Year of Water Cooperation, the 2013 theme for World Tourism Day is 'Tourism and Water: Protecting our Common Future'. Clean, accessible water is vital to tourism, running most of the sector's businesses, from hotels and restaurants to leisure facilities and transportation. More importantly, wetland tourism is growing, with many of the world's coastlines, lakes and other wetlands among the most popular tourism destinations.

On his message for World Tourism Day, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon declared: "With unsustainable consumption and climate change threatening global water resources, this year's World Tourism Day highlights the responsibility of the tourism industry to safeguard and intelligently manage water. In this International Year of Water Cooperation, I urge tourism establishments to cut consumption and improve waste management and I call on individuals to play their part by making environmentally conscious choices when they travel. By making water saving a priority we can all help to build the future we want."

Official World Tourism Day celebrations took place in The Maldives but the World Tourism Organization is addressing the many links between tourism and water all year.
>> Official website


2013 Special Event to follow up on efforts made towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals

United Nations. Logo Date: 25 September 2013
Time: 9:00 pm
Place: UN Headquarters, New York, USA

This special event, organized in the framework of the 68th session of the UN General Assembly, followed up on efforts made towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The event will dealt with the implementation of the MDGs, identified existing gaps to be addressed and paved the way for a transition from MDGs to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This provided the occasion for leaders to identify actions to complete the MDG process and to provide guidance on priorities to focus on.


Tackling Water Risks to Ensure a Sustainable FuturePDF document

Tackling Water Risks to Ensure a Sustainable Future Date: 25 September 2013 Time: 1:15 pm
Place: UN Headquarters, New York, USA
Organizers: The Governments of Switzerland and the Netherlands, the United Nations Secretary-General's Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation (UNSGAB) and the World Water Council, with the participation of UN-Water

On the occasion of the UN General Assembly Special Event on the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, this Ministerial luncheon provided an opportunity for a high level roundtable discussion with country representatives, international organisations, civil society and the private sector on best practices and key factors of success to address water-related risks in five major areas: economic prosperity, human health, political stability, disaster risk management and governance.


1st meeting of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development

1st meeting of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development Date: 24 September 2013 Time: 3 pm
Place: UN Headquarters, New York, USA

One critical outcome of the Rio+20 Conference was the decision to establish a universal intergovernmental high-level political forum to address sustainable development issues. Under the theme "Building the future we want: from Rio+20 to the post-2015 development agenda", this first meeting was convened by the President of the UN General Assembly and took place at the beginning of its 68th session.
>> More information
>> ProgrammePDF document


1st Workshop "River Basin Commissions and other Joint Bodies for Transboundary Water Cooperation: Legal and Institutional Aspects"

1st Workshop River Basin Commissions and other Joint Bodies for Transboundary Water Cooperation: Legal and Institutional Aspects. Logo Date: 23-24 September 2013
Place: Palais des Nations, Geneva, Switzerland

This workshop convened in the International Year of Water Cooperation aimed to highlight opportunities and inspire effective practices/solutions in advancing the legal and institutional frameworks and tools for transboundary water cooperation through the exchange of experience and cross-fertilization within existing joint bodies, as well as to support the emergence of new joint bodies for transboundary water cooperation.


Corporate Water Stewardship and the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda

Corporate Water Stewardship and the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda. Logo Date: 19 September 2013
Time: 9:00 a.m.
Place: Grand Hyatt Hotel, New York, USA
Organizer: CEO Water Mandate

This side event, which coincided with the UN Global Compact Leaders Summit on September 19-20, advanced the CEO Water Mandate's ongoing discussions regarding water and the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda. This session further explored and unpacked the prospective role of business in advancing potential policy objectives relating to increased access to water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services; improved water resources management and governance; efficient water use; and pollution reduction.
>> More information
>> Provisional agendaPDF document


11th Session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention to combat desertification

11th Session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention to combat desertification. Logo Date: 16-27 September 2013
Place: Windhoek, Namibia

COP11 was convened under the theme "A stronger UNCCD for a Land-Degradation Neutral World". The theme marks the progress the Parties to the Convention made under the 10-Year Strategy and encourages further action for its successful implementation during the latter half of the Strategy period; it also reflects the UNCCD vision of a way forward after the Rio+20 outcome on land degradation, desertification and drought.
>> COP11 website


UN-Water agenda at World Water Week

UN-Water agenda at World Water Week Date: 1-6 September 2013
Place: Stockholm, Sweden

This year the World Water Week in Stockholm, Sweden, addressed the theme "Water Cooperation - Building Partnerships" in reflection of World Water Day and the International Year of Water Cooperation. UN-Water jointly organized and contributed to a series of seminars and events. Some of the events organized included:


High-Level Conference on Water Cooperation

High-Level Conference on Water Cooperation Date: 20-21 August 2013
Place: Dushanbe, Tajikistan
Organizers: Government of Tajikistan in collaboration with UN agencies

The main objective of this Conference was to contribute to the improvement of water cooperation, in particular at transboundary level, by promoting successful policies, best practices and wider public participation, and encouraging policy makers to promote water cooperation at all levels in order to achieve internationally agreed goals on water. The conference also provided an opportunity to discuss and develop new measures aimed at accelerating efforts towards the MDGs and recommendations for further action after 2015.

The conference addressed the main following themes: Water cooperation for human development; Water cooperation for economic benefits; Water cooperation for ecosystems; Water cooperation across boundaries; and a series of cross-cutting issues, including: Water cooperation and gender; Water cooperation and capacity-building; Water cooperation and sectoral synergies; Triggers and catalysts to water cooperation.

On the 19 August, the conference hosted a Gender Forum on the issue 'Empowerment of Women: Foundation for Successful Transnational Water Cooperation'.

>> Conference programme
>> UN press release: Water cooperation must be a priority on sustainable development agenda


Meeting of Experts on Tariff and Regulatory Policies in the framework of the MDGs and Human Right to Water and SanitationAvailable in Spanish

Meeting of Experts on Tariff and Regulatory Policies in the framework of the MDGs and Human Right to Water and Sanitation. Logo. Date: 8 July 2013
Place: Santiago, Chile
Organizers: Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (UNECLAC)

The objectives of this meeting were: to analyze current development issues on the water and sanitation sector, including those related to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), regulation and supervision challenges under a public model of water services, regional trends, the state of the art on tariff policies and implications of the recognition of the human right to water and sanitation; exchange experiences between regulatory organisations in the region; and define future working priorities with a focus on new themes.
>> Programme agendaAvailable in SpanishPDF document


49th session of UNESCO's International Hydrological Programme (IHP) Bureau

49 session of Unesco. Logo. Date: 25-26 June 2013
Place: Paris, France

This intergovernmental meeting reviewed the results of IHP-VII activities, the status of UNESCO's category 1 and category 2 water-related Institutes and centres, recent IHP initiatives including actions in the post-2015 development agenda and the International Year of Water Cooperation, as well as cooperation on freshwater issues with the UN system and other organizations.


International Conference on Policies for Water and Food Security in the Dry Areas

International Conference on Policies for Water and Food Security in the Dry Areas Date: 24-26 June 2013
Place: Cairo, Egypt
Organisers: International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), International Water Management Institute (IWMI), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and others

Sound policies for food security and agricultural water management are critical for national economies and particularly for dryland areas, where water resources are already scarce and declining rapidly. This conference examined the effectiveness of current and alternative water and food policy options, and identified strategies to enhance land and water productivity, food security, employment generation and livelihoods.
>> Video record of sessions


World Day to Combat Desertification 2013: Don't let our future dry up!

World Day to Combat Desertification 2013: Don't let our future dry up! Date: 17 June 2013

In 1994, the United Nations General Assembly declared June 17 the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought (WDCD) to promote public awareness of the issue, and the implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).

This year's theme is drought and water scarcity. The goal of the 2013 WDCD is to create awareness about the risks of drought and water scarcity in drylands and beyond, calling attention to the importance of sustaining healthy soils as part of post Rio+20 agenda, as well as the post-2015 sustainable development agenda.

This year's slogan, "Don't let our future dry up" calls for everyone to take action to promote preparedness and resilience to water scarcity, desertification and drought. The slogan embodies the message that we are all responsible for water and land conservation and sustainable use, and that there are solutions to these serious natural resources challenges.


Workshop on transboundary water cooperation. Latin American and Pan-European regions: sharing experiences and learning from each other

International Year of Water Cooperation, logo Date: 11-12 June 2013
Place: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Organizers: United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), among others

This workshop offered a forum for debating the current state of water cooperation, the progress achieved and the prevailing challenges, as well as for sharing lessons learned and good practices for cooperation on transboundary waters in the Latin American and Caribbean region and the UNECE region.
>> UNECE press release
>> UNECLAC press release and video message from its Executive Secretary
>> Presentations and background documents


Water Integrity Forum

Water Integrity Forum. Logo Date: 5-7 June 2013
Place: Delft, The Netherlands
Organizers: Water Integrity Network, UNESCO-IHE, Water Governance Centre

Improving water integrity means working with preventive measures to promote transparency, accountability and participation in water. Lessons have already been learnt from this preventive work, and tools have already been tested and applied. The main objectives of this forum were to take stock of progress in addressing corruption issues in the water sector; to share knowledge, approaches and experiences; and to build alliances to address integrity challenges in the water sector.
>> Video recording of sessions


2nd meeting of the International Steering Committee of the International High-Level Conference on Water Cooperation

2nd meeting of the International Steering Committee of the International High-Level Conference on Water Cooperation Organizers: Government of Tajikistan in collaboration with UN agencies
Date: 4-5 June 2013
Place: Dushanbe, Tajikistan

In preparation of the High-Level Conference on Water Cooperation which will take place in Dushanbe on 20-21 August 2013, the Steering Committee met to discuss and agree on the final draft of the conference program; decide on key sessions' speakers, moderators and chairs; and make suggestions for the zero draft of the outcome document. The main objective of the High-Level Conference is to contribute to the improvement of water cooperation, in particular at transboundary level, by promoting successful policies, best practices and wider public participation, and encouraging policy makers to promote water cooperation at all levels in order to achieve internationally agreed goals on water.


World Environment Day: Think. Eat. Save. Reduce your Foodprint

World Environment Day: Think. Eat. Save. Reduce your FoodprintDate: 5 June 2013

"Think. Eat. Save. Reduce your Foodprint" is the theme of World Environment Day 2013, to be celebrated on 5 June. Observance of World Environment Day began in 1972 as a way to raise awareness of the environment and encourage political attention and action.

SIn 2013 the day focuses on the fact that over one billion tons of food are lost or wasted each year, according to United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The day builds on a global campaign on the same name launched earlier this year by UNEP, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and other partners, to reduce food loss along the entire chain of food production and consumption. You can also help save water by reducing food loss as irrigation claims close to 70 percent of all freshwater appropriated for human use.

Mongolia will host this year's official celebration. The Asian nation was chosen for its efforts to shift towards a green economy in its major economic sectors such as mining and for promoting environmental awareness among youth.
>> Register your Activity!


3rd LatinoSan Conference. Sanitation for all: new challenges, new opportunities

3rd LatinoSan Conference. Sanitation for all: new challenges, new opportunities Place: Panama
Date: 29-31 May 2013
Organizers: Ministry of Health of Panama

The 3rd Latin American Sanitation Conference (LatinoSan 2013) was held under the theme 'Sanitation for all: new challenges: new opportunities'. This conference represented an opportunity to strengthen the leadership of Latin American and Caribbean governments in the sanitation issue, obtain country support for the inclusion of water and sanitation issues in new global goals, set new commitments in the sanitation agenda beyond the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) deadline, and encourage the participation of other stakeholders in the issue.
>> Panama DeclarationAvailable in SpanishPDF document
>> National reports


3rd session of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals

Sustainable Development Goals Date: 22-24 May 2013
Place: United Nations HQ, New York, USA


The 3rd session of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals met to discuss the issues of food security and nutrition, sustainable agriculture, drought, desertification, and land degradation for one and a half days (on 22 and 23 May), and water and sanitation for the other one and a half days (on 23 and 24 May).

Video record of sessions is available online.

>> Programme of workPDF document
>> Technical Support Team issue brief on water and sanitationPDF document
>> Statements and presentations
>> Summary report from the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)PDF document


International Day for Biological Diversity 2013 focuses on water

International Day for Biological Diversity 2013 logo. Date: Wednesday, 22 May 2013

The International Day for Biological Diversity, celebrated every year on 22 May, is a special occasion to reflect on the role of biodiversity for our lives. In 2013 the theme for the day is Water and Biodiversity in recognition of the United Nations designation of 2013 as the International Year of Water Cooperation.

This year's theme speaks to the important role of biodiversity and ecosystems in providing for water security, and therefore for sustainable development. Water sustains all life on Earth. The ecosystems of our world, but particularly forests and wetlands, ensure that clean water is available to human communities. Water in turn underpins all ecosystem services. Wetlands can help reduce risks from flooding. Restoring soils can reduce erosion and pollution and can increase water available for crops. Protected areas can assist in providing water to cities. Biodiversity is here to help, as a sustainable solution, let's the world know about it!
>> Booklet: Natural solutions for water securityPDF document


Strengthening Partnerships Towards Disaster Risk Reduction For Small Island Developing States

Strengthening Partnerships Towards Disaster Risk Reduction For Small Island Developing States. Logo Organizers: United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR), UN Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS)
Date: 21 May 2013
Place: Geneva, Switzerland

Small island developing States (SIDS) are widely recognized as being highly prone to both natural and man-made hazards. In light of the interrelated and complex reality SIDS face, vis-à-vis disaster risk, this event aims to draw upon national and regional experiences through the perspectives of political leaders, experts and stakeholders in various aspects pertaining to the disaster risk reduction agenda for SIDS.


UN General Assembly Thematic Debate. Sustainable Development and Climate Change: Practical solutions in the Energy-Water NexusPDF document

United Nations logoDate: 16 May 2013
Place: UNHQ, New York, USA

The world has made great progress of many of the MDGs in recent years. However, future development is threatened by real concerns about the pressure put on natural resources and the threat of climate change. As highlighted at the Rio+20 Conference, the world needs urgent, practical and sustainable solutions to making development more effective and sustainable.

Energy and water are at the heart of these solutions. They are both fundamental requirements for development and are deeply interrelated. Water supply uses large amounts of energy, whether for pumping, treatment or desalination. Similarly, energy supplies often depend critically on water, for hydroelectricity, cooling or irrigation. Climate change and international security both impact and are impacted by energy and water management.

This thematic debate examined and discussed the challenges and opportunities in managing the water-energy nexus to enhance sustainable development and meet the challenge of climate change. It also provided an informal setting for Member States to exchange their views, ideas, and lessons learned, discuss and generate new ideas on the subject in an interactive manner.
>> Draft programmePDF document


A Matter of Life: Investing in Sanitation

United Nations logo Organizers: World Bank and United Nations
Date: 19 April 2013
Place: World Bank, J Building, Washington DC

Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations, Anthony Lake, Executive Director of UNICEF, Jim McHale, Senior Vice President of American Standard and Rachel Kyte, Vice President for Sustainable Development of the World Bank, engaged on a discussion on the global economics and politics of sanitation.
>> Video recording of session


Water for Peace or Conflict? Prospects for improved water cooperation

World Water Day, logo Date: 16 April 2013
Time: 13:00-15:00
Place: Room II, UNESCO HQ, Paris, France

The objective of the seminar was to draw attention to pertinent issues related to international water cooperation: what are the challenges to be addressed and what are the immediate actions to be taken in order to favour water cooperation?


UNCCD 2nd Scientific Committee: Economic assessment of desertification, sustainable land management and resilience of arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas

UNCCD 2nd Scientific Committee: Economic assessment of desertification, sustainable land management and resilience of arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas logo Date: 9-12 April 2013
Place: Bonn, Germany

This conference was expected to produce sound scientific outputs and policy-oriented recommendations for decision makers on the economic assessment of desertification, land degradation and sustainable land management in affected areas.


10th United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF10)

10th United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF10) logo Date: 8-19 April 2013
Place: Istanbul, Turkey

Around 1.6 billion people depend on forests for their livelihood. Forests are also the source of three-fourths of freshwater, help to regulate the impact of storms and floods and store carbon from the atmosphere. Established in 2000 by the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), the Forum is the only international body that addresses all forest and tree policy issues. 10th session considered a range of measures to improve sustainable forest management.


Post-2015 Consultations: Global leadership meeting on water

Post-2015 tag Organizers: Facilitated by UN-Water, co-led by UNDESA and UNICEF
Date: 21 March 2013
Place: The Hague, the Netherlands

As part of the Post-2015 Development Agenda Global Thematic Consultations, this High-Level Leadership Meeting brought together Member States, NGOs and civil society to discuss and define recommendations on water for the post-2015 development framework. The meeting was in conjunction with the celebrations of World Water Day 2013..


World Water Day 2013

World Water Day 2013 logo. Date: 22 March 2013
Place: Worldwide, The Hague and New York

On the occasion of World Water Day 2013 on 22 March, celebrations and events have taken place worldwide.

Official celebrations and a High Level Forum have taken place in The Hague, The Netherlands. The programme of the day included the announcement of winners of 2013 edition of 'Water for Life' UN-Water best practices award, inspirational speeches, presentations, panel and thematic discussions, and a series of public shows on the theme of water cooperation.

A High-Level Interactive Dialogue of the 67th session of the UNGA was also convened in New York to mark the 2013 International Year of Water Cooperation and the 20th anniversary of the proclamation of World Water Day.


5th Regional consultation on groundwater governance

Groundwater Governance project logo.Organizers: UNESCO, FAO, World Bank, IAH, UNECE
Date: 19-21 March 2013
Place: The Hague, the Netherlands

In the framework of activities celebrating World Water Day 2013 and the UN International Year of Water Cooperation, this consultation focused on the characteristics of groundwater use in North America, Europe and Central Asia and seek to promote the discussion about the specific challenges and priorities within the regional context.


E-learning Course: Water Footprint - Concept and Application

Water Footprint.Organizers: World Bank Institute, Water Footprint Network, University of Twente
Date: 11-15 March 2013

This e-learning course aimed to provide the participants with an introduction to the concept of water footprint and its application. The course was made up of two parts: (1) five self-paced multimedia learning modules, each of which is around 45 minutes; and (2) online facilitated discussion forums.


High Level Meeting on National Drought Policy

High Level Meeting on National Drought Policy.Organizers: WMO, UNCCD, FAO
Date: 11-15 March 2013
Place: Geneva, Switzerland

Drought is widely recognized as a slow creeping natural hazard that occurs as a consequence of the natural climatic variability. In recent years, concern has grown world-wide that droughts may be increasing in frequency and severity given the changing climatic conditions. Responses to droughts in most parts of the world are generally reactive in terms of crisis management and are known to be untimely, poorly coordinated and disintegrated. Consequently, the economic, social and environmental impacts of droughts have increased significantly worldwide. Because of their long-term socio-economic impacts, droughts are by far the most damaging of all natural disasters.

This conference provided practical insight into useful, science-based actions, to address the key drought issues being considered by governments and the private sector under the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and the various strategies to cope with drought.
>> Press release: Risk-management strategies needed to make societies drought-resilient, UN urges
>> Final DeclarationPDF document


Corporate Water Stewardship and the Post-2015 Development Agenda: Drawing from the India Experience

United Nations Global Compact logo Organizers: United Nations Global Compact, Pacific Institute
Date: 4-7 March 2013
Place: Mumbai, India

This conference convened companies, government agencies, civil society groups, academia and others to explore critical and complex corporate water management issues and seek to advance effective and equitable solutions. Media is invited to attend on 5 March.
>> Conference agendaPDF document


United Nations Special Thematic Session on Water and Disasters

Heavy rains in Haiti's northern city of Cap-Haïtien flooded streets, homes and fields overnight on 9 November 2012, leaving hundreds homeless and up to fifteen people dead. UN Photo/Logan Abassi. Organizers: UN Secretary General and UNSGAB
Date: 6 March 2013
Place: Economic and Social Council Chamber, United Nations, New York

Global changes, including climate change, increased population pressure, declining ecosystems, and unplanned urbanization are drastically increasing the risks of water-related disasters. Green growth will not materialize without adequately addressing water-related disasters. As highlighted during the current discourse in the Rio+20 process, integrated approaches to water resource management are critical for building the social, economic, and environmental pillars of sustainable development.

Having these in mind, this UN Special Session on Water and Disasters, an initiative of UN Secretary-General, was held at the United Nations to raise awareness, share experiences and good practices, and discuss ways forward towards global actions on water and disasters.

The summary of discussions will contribute, not only to future discussions of ECOSOC, Post Rio+20, Post-Hyogo and Post-2015, but also to help establishing global and regional dialogue and cooperation processes to improve disaster prevention and preparedness by countries.


Post-2015 Development Agenda Consultation on Water: Water Resources Management and Wastewater Management and Water Quality

Post-2015 tag Date: 27-28 February 2013
Place: Geneva, Switzerland

The objective of this meeting was to allow for more profound technical and political debate and synthesize the discussions of two of the three streams of the Post-2015 water consultation: Water Resources Management and Wastewater Management and Water Quality, facilitated by UNECE and ONU-Habitat / Aquafed respectively. The meeting facilitated the development of a short document that reflects the discussions that have taken place both online and during this meeting.


Ways to integrate efforts in furthering water dialogue and cooperation

Ways to integrate efforts in furthering water dialogue and cooperation Organizers: UN Permanent Mission of Tajikistan, UN-Water, EastWest Institute.
Date: 22 February 2013
Place: Conference Room 5, UN Headquarters NY

This side event assisted the preparation processes of global high-level events to be organized for the implementation of the International Year of Water Cooperation, including World Water Day in March 2013 and the High-Level International Conference on Water Cooperation to be held in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, in August 2013.


Addressing inequalities in the post-2015 development agenda for water, sanitation and hygiene

Post-2015 tagOrganizers: Permanent Mission of Finland to the United Nations, Special rapporteur on the human right to water and sanitation, UNICEF, UN-Women, WaterAid
Date: 21 February 2013
Place: Conference Room 5, UN Headquarters NY

This special event focused on how to address inequalities in the post-2015 development agenda, including women's rights and gender inequality, for water, sanitation and hygiene.


Water in the Post-2015 Development Agenda

Post-2015 tag Organizers: UN-Water
Date: 20 February 2013
Place: World Bank HQ, Washington, USA

This event introduced the two following processes that will feed into the overarching inter-governmental process to develop post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): (1) The technical discussion on water-related targets and indicators, and (2) The thematic Consultation on Water. The event was webcasted live.


2013 TUNZA International Youth Conference on the Environment

2013 TUNZA International Youth Conference on the Environment.Date: 10-14 February 2013
Place: Nairobi, Kenya

Organized by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the 2013 TUNZA International Youth Conference on the Environment gathered some 250 youth delegates from over 100 countries to examine ways in which global youth can directly tackle today's most pressing environmental issues, and encourage their peers to take action. Links between human health and environmental degradation were the main themes of the conference.


Official Launching Ceremony of the International Year of Water Cooperation 2013

International Year of Water Cooperation 2013 logoDate: 11 February 2013
Place: UNESCO Headquarters, Paris, France

UNESCO officially launched the International Year of Water Cooperation 2013 during a high-level event with the participation of eminent personalities, distinguished scientists, UN agencies and the youth from the world over.

Representatives of governments, local communities, specialized NGOs and UN organizations joined eminent specialists and youths to discuss:

  • How water cooperation can best contribute to the Global Agenda on Sustainable Development for the post-2015 era so as to effectively address the needs of all societies.
  • Harnessing cooperation at all levels to address water-related challenges, including:
    • Regional cooperative mechanisms;
    • Government action at the national level;
    • Action at the local level;
    • Cooperation at the basin level.
  • Science, capacity building and partnerships.

International Annual UN-Water Zaragoza Conference 2012/2013 'Preparing for the 2013 International Year. Water Cooperation: Making it Happen!'

International Year of Water Cooperation logo.Date: 8-10 January 2013
Place: Zaragoza, Spain

In preparation of the 2013 International Year of Water Cooperation, and World Water Day 2013, the 2012/2013 Zaragoza International Annual UN-Water Conference focused on how to make water cooperation happen. The conference will identified the best approaches to promote effective cooperation at different scales and how we can do 'better' in water cooperation through sharing lessons from experiences, and inspiring participants to do 'better'.

The conference will introduced the key skills required for water cooperation, with particular attention to their important role in the process of negotiation and mediation and with examples of their application in national and international water settings.

The outcomes of the conference included:

  • A series of documented case studies that illustrate how different tools and approaches for dispute resolution are implemented in practice;
  • A synthesis of lessons learned on the use of approaches for dispute resolution and how to improve water cooperation;
  • A feedback on the main messages for World Water Day 2013.
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UN Documentation Centre on Water and Sanitation
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Water publications from the UN

>> Bimonthly Publications Review 24 [PDF document. - 546 Kb]
UNW-DPAC. October 2014
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A Date with...

Sustainable Development
15-17 January 2015: UN-Water International Zaragoza Conference ‘Water and Sustainable Development: From vision to action’

22 March 2015: World Water Day on Water and Sustainable Development

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2011-2020: UN Decade on Biodiversity

Deserts and Desertification
2010-2020: UN Decade for Deserts and the Fight Against Desertification

Energy
2014-2024: Decade on Sustainable Energy for All
22 March 2014: World Water Day on 'Water and Energy'

Sanitation
2011-2015: Sustainable sanitation: The Five-Year-Drive to 2015
19 November 2014: World Toilet Day