20.06.2012 - UNESCO Office in Brasilia

Parallel event acknowledges advances on the water management issue at Rio+20

© UNESCO/Nelson MuchagataStudent learning effective freshwater use in Brazil

Representatives of Latin America and the Caribbean gathered today (20 June) at Solar da Imperatriz, in Rio, for a Meeting of the National Committees of the International Hydrological Programme (IHP). They acknowledged that Rio+20 - the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development is advancing on important issues concerning water management.

Mr Patrick Thomas, president of the IHP National Committee of Brazil open the session by highlighting the importance of freshwater and by stressing Brazil's commitment to water sustainability.
Ms Gretchen Kalonji, Assistant Director-General for Natural Sciences at UNESCO, highlighted Latin America and the Caribbean's leading role in terms of water. "There are many examples of good practices on water management in the region, particularly in the Caribbean, but there is even more we can do. The International Year of Water Cooperation (2013) is a good goal; we have very important communication work ahead of us".
The Assistant Director-General also acknowledged the importance of the work done by the commissions and centers associated to IHP in Latin America and the Caribbean. She explained that "UNESCO, along with the International Oceanographic Commission, wants to reinforce themes such as Water and Coastal Management, as well as Education in the region, strengthening the subject particularly on Higher Education".

Mr Abdin Salih, Secretary of IHP, presented the outcomes of the 20th session of the IHP Intergovernmental Council, and the upcoming eight phase of IHP.
The advancements made in the implementation of IHP at the international, regional, and national levels were also presented.

Benedito Braga, vice-president of the World Water Council, remarked that the water issue is being at the moment explicitly discussed on political negotiations for the first time.

"For State leaders water is now in the center of sustainable development", leveled Benedito Braga, who wrote a report about the 6th World Water Forum that took place in Marseille, which produced recommendations for Rio+20. He put forth that one of the most relevant talks at Rio+20 was about water, gathering 2.500 people. "You cannot develop water resources policies without talking to politicians and people, who have the power to change things", he said.
During the Meeting, several case studies concerning water were presented, among them the Hydrographic Basin of Paraíba do Sul river, in Brazil, studies in the Dominican Republic and Uruguay, in addition to CEHICA, Itaipu and HidroEX Centres, an the UNESCO Chair on Water, Women and Development. The meeting was convened by the Brazilian IHP National Committee, hosted by the National Water Agency (ANA) of Brazil.

The International Hydrological Programme (IHP) is the sole Intergovernmental Program in the United Nations System entirely dedicated to Hydrological Research, Water Resources Management, Education and Capacity Building. The Programme outlined according to the needs of the Member States is implemented in six-year phases, allowing its adaptation to a rapidly changing world.

IHP will continue to promote and headline Hydrological Research internationally, as well as facilitate Education and Capacity Building and strengthen Water Resources Management. The goal of such efforts is to contribute to the achievement of the Millenium Development Goals on Environmental Sustainability, Water Supply, Sanitation, Food Security and Poverty Alleviation. 
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