The major task, which the international community is facing today in the field of water resources, is the transfer of committed obligations into concrete actions that need to be implemented on the ground for the benefit of people, ecosystems and the biosphere as a whole.
Nurturing the opportunities for cooperation in water management among all stakeholders and improving the comprehension of the challenges and benefits of water cooperation can help build mutual respect, understanding and trust among countries and promote peace, security and sustainable economic growth.
Given the basic necessity of water to sustain life and its central role in the provision of a wide range of services, water is a crucial and cross-cutting factor at the heart of all the MDGs. Consequently, the active participation and cooperation of all sectors, levels of government, and civil society are critical for ensuring better management and allocation of water resources. While recognizing the differentiated responsibilities between developed and developing countries, each nation must take ultimate actions to meet the MDGs.
Free Flow. Reaching Water Security through Cooperation
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). September 2013
Published in the framework of the International Year of Water Cooperation, this publication brings together a broad range of water professionals and stakeholders to share their knowledge and experiences in water cooperation. The different chapters reflect the progress and challenges encountered in the fields of water management and cooperation around the world.
Water cooperation in action: approaches, tools and processes
UN-Water Decade Programme on Advocacy and Communication (UNW-DPAC). June 2013
This report summarizes main concepts, challenges, tools and experiences related to water cooperation and highlights key lessons learnt on promoting water cooperation. It also provides a summary of the discussions which took place at the 'International Annual UN-Water Zaragoza Conference 2012/2013. Preparing for the 2013 International Year. Water Cooperation: Making it Happen', held on 8-10 January 2013 in Zaragoza, Spain.
World Water Development Report 4 (WWDR 4)
World Water Assessment Report Programme (WWAP), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), UN-Water. March 2012.
The WWDR4 is a comprehensive review of the world's freshwater resources and seeks to demonstrate, among other messages, that water underpins all aspects of development, and that a coordinated approach to managing and allocating water is critical. The Report underlines that in order to meet multiple goals water needs to be an intrinsic element in decision-making across the whole development spectrum.
Reaching Across the Waters. Facing the Risks of Cooperation in International Waters
World Bank Water Partnership Program. March 2012.
This study reviews the experience of cooperation in five international river basins, focusing on the perceptions of risks and opportunities by decision makers in countries responding to a specific prospect of cooperation. For each basin, the analysis is centered on "tipping points," or periods in time when policymakers in the countries involved were faced with a critical decision concerning water cooperation. The use of historical events helped avoid the risk that the analyses would impact current negotiations or controversies. River basins selected for the analysis were: Eastern Nile, Ganges, Niger, Syr Darya, and Zambezi.
Highlands and Drylands. Mountains, A Source of Resilience in Arid Regions
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Centre for Development and Environment of the University of Bern. December 2011.
This publication aims at raising awareness of the global role of dryland mountains by including these key ecosystems in important global processes. Efficient water management is an essential practice within these ecosystems that often must be achieved through international and transboundary cooperation by sharing knowledge and best practices. Participatory water management initiatives and their associated outcomes and implemented actions, as well as innovative and adaptive management approaches, such as fog harvesting, are explored.
Gender, Water and Sanitation. Case Studies on Best Practices [ – 1 MB]
United Nations. 2006.
This document presents 15 case studies which depict best practices in securing sustainable safe drinking water and sanitation for communities by engaging both men and women as critical stakeholders. The case studies are drawn from 14 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. They illustrate what happens when communities become involved and actively engaged in addressing issues related to clean water and sanitation from a gender perspective. This perspective ensures that the concerns of women who have the primary responsibility for water are not only addressed but become part of the solution.
Partnership Interventions for the Implementation of the Strategic Action Programme for Lake Tanganyika
[ – 397 KB]
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). 2010.
This publication aims at giving an overview of the regional water project at Lake Tanganyika in which Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Tanzania and Zambia currently participate. The project is an example of how to address environmental threats through activities including catchment management, improved wastewater management systems, establishment of a Regional Integrated Environmental Monitoring System, and institutional strengthening for improved regional coordination. Additionally, the project also illustrates how fisheries concerns have been addressed in the region.
Climate Change and Freshwater Resources. A Synthesis of Adaptation Actions Undertaken by Nairobi Work Programme Partner Organizations
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). 2011.
This document provides a synthesis of actions undertaken by 21 Nairobi Work Programme (NWP) partner organizations, and highlights the results obtained and lessons learned on freshwater issues in particular. The contributions of partner organizations showcase a rich mix of actions on freshwater resources, which have generated results on the ground, particularly in developing countries. With a focus on communication, dialogue and cooperation among different stakeholders it has produced useful lessons demonstrating improved understanding and assessment of impacts, vulnerability and adaptation to climate change.
At the Crossroads. Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction in Asia and the Pacific. A Review of the Region's Institutional and Policy Landscape
United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR). July 2011.
This report provides a snapshot of how Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) are undertaken and integrate in Asia and the Pacific. It does so by taking stock of past and ongoing regional initiatives; by looking into the role of certain organizations in implementation processes; and analyzing key political, policy and institutional developments. The report intends to contribute to improved regional planning and programming for DRR and CCA, and highlights areas for cooperation among regional and sub regional organizations.
Strategy and Action Plan for Sustainable Land Management in the High Pamir and Pamir-Alai Mountains (PALM) [ – 917 KB]
PALM National Project Offices in the Kyrgyz Republic and the Republic of Tajikistan, in collaboration with the Global Environment Facility (GEF), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and United Nations University (UNU). February, 2011.
The strategy and action plan addresses problems related to land use systems and the degradation of land resources in Central Asia, with the aim of decreasing the vulnerability of fragile mountain ecosystems and, consequently, reducing poverty among the local populations. The strategy explores and includes the need for greater transboundary and local cooperation in order to successfully manage land and water resources.
Restoring Land Use Through Local Water Governance and Technology in High Andes Communities: Management of Natural Resources in the Southern Highlands Project (MARENASS), Peru [ – 88 KB]
International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), November 2004.
This document provides an example of water cooperation in Peru, where the national government designed a national strategy aimed at limiting the degradation of the country's natural resource base. The strategy plans to confront the problem through watersheds management with a three-pronged approach: (1) at macro-level, with World Bank assistance, (2) at a micro regional level and (3) at community level.
Water is a key foundation, whose importance can hardly be overestimated. It is a common denominator of the leading global challenges of our time - energy, food, health, peace and security. Water management can reduce the risk of disasters, such as droughts and floods. With transboundary river basins and aquifer systems representing almost half the earth's surface, water cooperation is vital for peace.
Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director-General.
Keynote address to the High-level panel discussion organized by the Government of Finland at the Rio+20 Conference.
One of the primary objectives of the UN International Year of Water Cooperation 2013 is to break down, analyse and achieve a common understanding on the essence of 'water cooperation'. Water cooperation refers to the peaceful management and use of water resources among various players and sectors and at different levels. Indeed this consists of acting together toward a common end and mutual benefits.
Hans d'Orville, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Strategic Planning at side event Thematic Session on Water Cooperation organized by the Government of Tajikistan at the Rio+20 Conference.
>> Video message from UN Secretary-General for IYWC
"Water is central to the well-being of people and the planet," says UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in this video message for the International Year of Water Cooperation 2013.
>> The objectives of the IYWC
Blanca Jimenez, director of the Division Sciences of UNESCO, summarizes main objectives of the International Year of Water Cooperation 2013.
>>Interview with Faith M. Livingstone, Mt. Kenya East Pilot Project for Natural Resources Management
Ms. Livingstone introduces the Mt. Kenya East Pilot Project for Natural Resources Management and its overall goal: to reduce poverty through improved food security and improving levels of income of farmers - particularly rural women. The project focuses on the effective use of natural resources, improving access to water and introducing better farming and water management practices for sustainable use of land and water resources.
>> Interview with Alice Bouman, President of Women for Water Partnership
In this interview, Alice Bouman, President of Women for Water Partnership, introduces a partnership in the Irrawaddi River in Myanmar, where there is no basin authority. This partnership aims to improve water management and cooperation as well as to increase the involvement of civil society in river basin management.
>>Interview with Pedro Serra, Former Director of the Water Institute of Portugal
Pedro Serra, former director of the Water Institute of Portugal, introduces the cooperation process for the management and development of shared river basins between Spain and Portugal.
>>Interview with Robina Wahaj, technical officer at FAO
In this interview, Robina Wahaj, technical officer at Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), highlights the issue of multiple water uses and water cooperation, especially in relation to irrigation systems.
>> Information brief on Water Cooperation
>> Information brief on Alternative Dispute Resolution
>> Information brief on Financing
>> Information brief on Information Sharing and Joint Assessments
>> Information brief on Legal Frameworks and Institutional Arrangements