On 11 February 2011, the UN General Assembly, in its resolution 65/154, decided to proclaim 2013 International Year of Water Cooperation. Resolution 65/154 calls on the United Nations system and all other actors to take advantage of the Year to promote actions at all levels, including through international cooperation, as appropriate, aimed at the achievement of the internationally agreed on water-related goals contained in Agenda 21, the Programme for the further Implementation of Agenda 21, the United Nations Millennium Declaration and the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation, as well as to increase awareness of their importance.
This has been one of the main subjects of the 6th World Water Forum, “Time for Solutions”, held in Marseille, France, last March. Ensuring that sufficient financing is mobilised in order to reach ambitious targets and objectives for the water sector is absolutely critical. In many countries, the investments needed to deliver sustainable water and sanitation services, expand their coverage and upgrade service delivery to meet current social and environmental expectations, are huge.
Throughout the world, the challenges of providing access to safe water and sanitation are further accentuated by increasing demands from other water uses due to factors such as population increase, pressures to increase food production, rapid urbanisation, degradation of water quality, and increasing uncertainty about water availability in the context of climate change.
Addressing these challenges will require both large capital investments for new or upgraded infrastructure, on-going investments in operations and maintenance and funding of critical “soft” activities, such as governance reforms or capacity building.
The benefits from such investments for society are substantial. Yet, most systems are underfunded with dire consequences for water and sanitation users, especially the poorest.
As part of the UN Water Dialogue Series in Casa Solans, this 3rd dialogue addressed the issue of Water Safety Plans (WSPs). The 3rd edition of the World Health Organization (WHO) Guidelines for Drinking Water Quality recommends the adoption and implementation of Water Safety Plans as the most effective means to consistently ensure the safety of drinking-water supplies at all levels, from catchment to consumer. This integrated tool requires engaging all stakeholders, from health and environment authorities to water operators and consumers. WSPs should be implemented within a public health context, respond to standard health and quality indicators and checked by independent surveillance. To debate on Water Safety Plans, implementation protocols and on specific challenges during the implementation phase in Spain and other countries, national experts and officers met and shared their experiences and recommendations with WHO representatives participating in this 3rd Dialogue.
Rio+20 concludes with big package of commitments for action and agreement by world leaders on path for a sustainable future
World leaders finalized an agreement at Rio+20 today that will advance action on sustainable development, as businesses, governments, civil society and multilateral development banks announced hundreds of voluntary commitments to shape a more sustainable future for the benefit of the planet and its people. The full package of agreements, actions, commitments, challenges, initiatives and announcements made at Rio+20, the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, addresses a range of global issues that includes access to clean energy, food security, water and sustainable transportation.
"Rio+20 has given us a solid platform to build on," UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said. "Rio+20 has affirmed fundamental principles -- renewed essential commitments-and given us new direction."
World Council of Civil Engineers (WCCE) in collaboration with IAHR and Taylor and Francis is conducting a survey using SurveyMonkey to explore launching a new peer-reviewed journal focussed on best practice, case studies and application of research to bridge the gap between academia and the world of practice in the area of water.
You are invited to participate in this research project because of your importance in our Association. If you like we will follow up in a few days with a telephone call to help you to fill the survey on line (20 minutes). In addition to the selected group of people in which you are involved, the survey will be sent to a largest number of contacts -with no telephone follow up.- An Apple ipod plus a free IAHR membership will be raffled among all the respondants the week after the deadline, which is May 25th.