Groundwater Governance Project: Launch of Regional Consultation Workshops
In January 2011, the UNESCO-IHP - together with the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Association of Hydrogeologists (IAH) and the World Bank - initiated a new project on "Groundwater Governance: A Global Framework for Country Action". For this three-year project, UNESCO jointly with the partners is working closely with the Member States, the main actors in the management of groundwater resources. Under the responsibility of the UNESCO-IHP network, the Regional Consultation Workshops (RCW) are a fundamental component of the Groundwater Governance project.
This project is in response to the emerging global concerns over the increasingly unsustainable use of groundwater and the degradation of aquifers. The overall project objective is to increase the awareness of the paramount importance of sound management of groundwater resources in preventing and reversing the global water crisis.
The RCWs seek to encourage discussion about specific regional characteristics, priorities, visions, gaps and challenges. They will also consider 'twinning', i.e. bringing together successful models of groundwater governance for future collaborations. The preparation of a series of RCWs has already begun between UNESCO-IHP in Paris and UNESCO regional offices in different regions. The Regional Consultations will be held in the following regions: Latin America and Caribbean; Africa; Arab Countries; and Asia. The first consultation will start with Latin America and Caribbean and will be hosted in Uruguay from 18th to 20th April 2012. The second is foreseen to be held in Kenya (Africa region) on 24-26 May 2012. The third will be held in Jordan on 8-10 October 2012, and the fourth will be in China in December 2012. The fifth Regional Consultation dedicated to the European region as well as institutions from the private sector will be hosted by the Netherlands in the first quarter of 2013.
The results of the regional consultations will contribute to the preparation of Global Groundwater Governance Diagnostic. It will serve as a technical basis for the visioning process by compiling the best available present scientific and technical knowledge on groundwater resources and their governance, to be accessible to a large public of policy and decision makers across development sectors.
During project formulation and implementation, UNESCO-IHP will collaborate closely with a wide variety of partners - representing all stakeholders at all levels having strong experience in groundwater governance - which will join the Permanent Consultation Mechanism (PCM).
As a final result, the project will develop a global "Framework of Action" (FA), consisting of a set of effective governance tools (policies, laws, regulations and customary practices). The FA will foster the recognition of the value of groundwater as a critically important natural resource, and of the social, economic and ecological opportunities that sustainable groundwater management can provide through interdisciplinary dialogue.
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