The Group of Friends of Water was established by the initiative of the UN Permanent Mission of Tajikistan in 2010, initially as a platform for the implementation of the United Nations General Assembly resolution 64/198 “Midterm comprehensive review of the implementation of the International Decade for Action, ‘Water for Life’, 2005–2015”. Later the Group became as an informal voluntary association of likeminded countries in promotion of the UN water agenda.
The group played an important role in facilitating the preparation for the High-level interactive dialogue of the Sixty-fourth Session of the General Assembly (New York, 22 March 2010) and the High Level International Conference on the Midterm Comprehensive Review of the Implementation of the International Decade for Action “Water for Life 2005-2015” (Dushanbe, Tajikistan, 8-9 June 2010).
Members of the Group of Friends of Water
Up to present 39 UN Member States are the members of the Group of Friends of Water: Australia, Argentina, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iraq, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Republic of Korea, Laos, Mongolia, Netherlands, Philippines, Portugal, Russian Federation , Singapore, Spain, South Africa, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkmenistan, Turkey, Ukraine, United States of America, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Yemen.
In 2012 the Steering Committee of the Group of Friends of Water was established with the participation of Finland, Tajikistan, Thailand and Hungary. The Steering Group was launched in order to give an impetus to the discussions on water issues in the context of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20). The group was working together throughout the run up to Rio+20 Conference.
In 2012 the group organized five thematic discussions with the goal to bring added value to the sustainable development discussions through pragmatic and result-oriented approaches. The following thematic discussions have been organized by the Steering Committee:
These series of events prior to the Rio+20 Conference, were aimed to render support to the UN Membership and assist the work of the Group of Friends of Water on water related issues in the spirit of the Rio follow-up. On 11 May 2012, the Steering Group held their final meeting at the Permanent Mission of Hungary to the United Nations to present the findings of the five thematic discussions and deliver its recommendations for Rio (10 Commandments).
As it is known, the discussion on post-2015 development agenda has started. Reflecting water and sanitation as part of the post-2015 agenda is equally important. Water plays a crucial role for eradication of poverty and is, in fact, a prerequisite for the achievement of many of the MDGs.
In 20 December 2010, the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution 65/154 by which it proclaimed 2013 the International Year of Water Cooperation. The resolution, expressing concern by the slow and uneven progress in achieving internationally agreed water-related goals, encourages all Member States, the United Nations system and all other stakeholders to take advantage of the Year to promote actions at all levels, including through international cooperation, aimed at the achievement of the water-related development goals, as well as to increase awareness of their importance.In this context, the Steering Committee of the Group of Friends of Water will dedicate itself using its informal frameworks to promote understanding of the challenges the humanity faces today. In this manner, the Steering Committee of the Group of Friends of Water in 2013 will organize a number of workshops on areas related to water problems and challenges, in a broader context of water cooperation and diplomacy, including inequalities and rights to water and sanitation.
20-21 August 2013: International High-Level Conference on Water Cooperation. Dushanbe, Tajikistan
8-10 January 2013: Preparing for the 2013 International Year. Water Cooperation: Making it Happen! Conference. Zaragoza, Spain
>> Draft Resolution on the implementation of the IYWC
>> IYWC official website
2013: International Year of Water Cooperation
Deserts and Desertification
2010-2020: UN Decade for Deserts and the Fight Against Desertification
17 June: World Day to Combat Desertification