Water Cooperation - Building Partnerships

Image courtesy of the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI)

World Water Week in Stockholm 2013

Every year, over 200 collaborating organizations convene events at the World Water Week in Stockholm, which has become a focal point for the globe’s water issues. Individuals from around the world also present their findings at the scientific workshops. This year the week is dedicated to the theme Water Cooperation - Building Partnerships in celebration of the International Year of Water Cooperation. UNESCO, as the lead Agency of the Year, has worked closely with the host and organizer: the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI).

The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, will participate in the Opening Ceremony and a High Level Panel to discuss issues related to the overarching theme, such as how more effective cooperation can enable us to reach “water wise” decisions and goals and thus contribute to sustainable development and peace. Ms Bokova will highlight the messages of the International Year of Water Cooperation on various occasions, including the launching of the Giant Puzzle of Water Cooperation at the UN-Water/UNESCO booth on Monday 2 September. Ms Bokova will take advantage of this opportunity to raise awareness on the importance of improved cooperation in the management of water resources and to promote a more sustainable and fair development of our societies.

Giant Puzzle of Water Cooperation

What better than a puzzle to symbolize the essence of cooperation and the need for us all to join forces in achieving a common goal? For this edition of the World Water Week dedicated to Water Cooperation, UNESCO and UN-Water have conceived an artistic way to show the cooperation chain: each participant of the Water Week will receive a piece of puzzle and will be invited to place it on the giant board situated at the UN-Water Pavilion.

Only once all the pieces have been added, will the complete image finally be revealed. Every piece, just as every drop, matters. The puzzle will be inaugurated on 2 September by Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, Michel Jarraud, Chair of UN-Water, Karin Lexen, Director of the World Water Week and Lisa Svensson, Ambassador of Sweden for Oceans, Seas and Fresh Water.

Theatre of the Absurd

Is there a happy ending to the tragedy (of the commons)?

UNESCO-IHP and UN-Water will offer this representation of the world’s surreal and as yet unsolved dilemmas regarding water security, water governance and water cooperation. During this inspirational and unconventional session on 3 September (4 pm in room B8), a series of “actors” will dramatize real-life examples of some of the most common challenges we face when it comes to trusting each other, sharing commons, and ultimately deciding if we are capable of perpetuating our evolution and development without endangering the planet and its resources. Four exceptional Masters of Ceremony will guide the audience through the three Acts with debates.

The Theatre of the Absurd will be adapted as a toolkit, including videos, after World Water Week as a contribution to the International Year of Water Cooperation.

Transferring the World Water Day Baton

One of the highlights of the week will be a seminar on Exploring the Water-Energy Nexus on Wednesday 4 September, which will also be an opportunity to perpetuate the new tradition marking the passage of the coordination of World Water Day from one UN Agency to a sister agency. The baton is actually a drop-shaped statuette symbolizing World Water Day and bearing the theme and the name of the lead agency of each celebration since its inception in 1994.

Last year, FAO passed on the statuette to UNESCO, lead Agency for World Water Day 2013 on Water Cooperation. This year the Secretary of UNESCO’s International Hydrological Programme (IHP), Blanca Jimenez-Cisneros, will have the pleasure of passing on the World Water Day baton to UNIDO, the organization that will coordinate World Water Day 2014, dedicated to the theme Water and Energy.

Workshops, seminars, side events and special sessions

UNESCO and its Water Family —the International Hydrological Programme (IHP), its network of experts, UNESCO Chairs and Centres, and the World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP)— are highly involved in many sessions and initiatives that cover a wide spectrum of topics ranging from water security to climate change adaptation, education, transboundary waters management, capacity building and training, water governance, among others. A flyer has been prepared summarizing UNESCO's presence during the Week. The main events are listed below.

1 September
Side events

Seminars

2 September
Opening Ceremony

Side events

Special session

  • Giant Puzzle of Water Cooperation

3 September
Workshop

Side event

Seminars

Special session

4 September
Seminar

5 September
Workshop

Side event

Seminar

Special session

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