Paris, France

11 February 2013

Secretary-General's video message for International Year of Water Cooperation 2013

Your Excellency Mr. Pascal Canfin, Minister for Development, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, France; Your Excellency Mr. Hamrokhon Zarifi, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Tajikistan; Ms. Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO; Mr. Michel Jarraud, Secretary-General, World Meteorological Organization, and Chairperson, UN-Water; Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen,

I am pleased to greet all participants at the inaugural event of the International Year of Water Cooperation.

Water is central to the well-being of people and the planet.

We need it for health, food security and economic progress.

Water holds the key to sustainable development.

We must work together to protect and carefully manage this fragile, finite resource.

Each year brings new pressures on water.

Growing populations.  Climate change.

One-third of the world’s people already live in countries with moderate to high water stress. 

Competition is growing between farmers and herders; industry and agriculture; town and country.

Upstream and downstream, and across borders, we need to cooperate for the benefit of all – now and in the future.

The United Nations General Assembly has designated 2013 the International Year of Water Cooperation.

Let us harness the best technologies and share the best practices to get more crop per drop.

Let us promote water rights, waste less and design intelligent policies so all users get a fair share.

Let us invest in water.

Water is life.