WWAP contribution to the Water Decade Seminar in Brasil

The Water Decade for Action 2005-2015 “Water for Life”, its achievements and remaining challenges were the main theme of the seminar held in Vitoria, Brazil, organized by Rede Gazeta and the NGO Ecobacia Institut.

WWAP has been invited to participate and provide a global summary of the decade and the next steps that need to be taken within the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. During the seminar the Director of National Water Agency of Brasil, Ms. Forattini, provided updates on the greatest environmental disaster in Brazil following dam failure, which resulted in the equivalent of 25,000 Olympic swimming pools of iron being released in the Doce River.

Watch the Live Interview to Ms. Angela Cordeiro Ortigara, WWAP Project Officer and other partners' representative

Watch the related news item concerning the debate on the Water Decade for Action 

©Secundo Rezende / Zoom filmes

WWAP contribution to COP 21

The UN World Water Assessment Programme contribued to the Climate Conference (COP21), which is being held in Paris from 30 November to 11 December 2015 by organizing two side events.

An entire day was dedicated to Water and Climate on the 2nd December 2015 at Le Bourget. In this framework, UNESCO organized various water-related events in the UNESCO Booth at COP21, celebrating also the 50 years anniversary of UNESCO water programmes.

On this occasion WWAP launched the book: Transboundary water governance and climate change adaptation: International law, policy guidelines and best practice application, which is the result of collaboration with prominent partners such as IUCN Environmental Law Center, University of Dundee IHP-HELP Centre for Water Law, Policy and Science and Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research. The session highlighted the central role of water in climate change adaptation and zoom in on the critical role of water governance in a transboundary context. View the flyer of the event

On December 8, WWAP organized the event “Gender, Water and Climate Change: Monitoring Indicators for SDG6, which covered WWAP groundbreaking project on Gender-sensitive water monitoring, assessment and reporting and presented the ‘Toolkit for collecting sex-disaggregated water data’. This toolkit holds a list of high-priority indicators for sex-disaggregated data collection in the water realm. The presentation explained the use of these indicators for the SDG6 monitoring process as well as WWAP's role in the post-2015 development agenda. Download the flyer

Monitoring global water with a gender perspective

©Laurens Thuy

WWAP released the Technical Paper on ‘Sex-disaggregated indicators for water assessment, monitoring and reporting’ during the 38th session of the General Conference at the UNESCO Headquarters, Paris, on Monday 9th of November.

"This technical paper provides a first global effort to promote the systematic collection of sex-disaggregated water data and allow comparability of results, which will serve as first overview on the current status of gender equality in its several dimensions", stated Prof. Stefan Uhlenbrook, WWAP Coordinator, who chaired the event with a panel of international experts and UNESCO member country representatives.
Gülser Corat, Director of the Division for Gender Equality at UNESCO reiterated that Gender equality is a UNESCO global priority, "in the past UNESCO stated that attaining the Millennium Development Goals was not possible without addressing the current gender inequalities; despite the widespread acknowledgement of the problem, a gap remains in this field. Therefore this paper will significantly boost the state of global knowledge on this particular topic."

The event also highlighted the relevance of the Technical Paper to the monitoring of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) n.6 “Ensure access to water and sanitation for all.” Engin Koncagul, WWAP Programme Officer highlighted this point in his presentation: "In September, the UN leaders have agreed upon new development goals which must be monitored and followed through a number of indicators. Recommendations were given on including disaggregation by sex, age, and income. In order to “leave no one behind,” gathering disaggregated data is essential. This new report contains a methodology for using the list of gender-sensitive high-priority indicators, using different techniques such as performing intra-household surveys and sex-separated interviews."

Panel-members, Lesha Witmer, independent international expert on water, gender, and sustainable development, and both the Dutch and Italian representatives to UNESCO, H. E. Lionel Strenghart Veer and Arnaldo Minuti, stated their support of WWAP and its goal of introducing the gender perspective to global water monitoring.

Ms. Witmer, in particular, stressed the need to include sex-disaggregation in the current status of Sustainable Development Goals 6 on water.

Read the press release

Watch the event (from min. 41:00)

Find the Technical Paper and the Toolkit here


© UNESCO/Isabelle Brugnon

© UNESCO/ Engin Koncagul

© UNESCO/Isabelle Brugnon

© UNESCO/ Engin Koncagul

Prof. Stefan Uhlenbrook is the new Coordinator of the World Water Assessment Programme

Professor Dr. Stefan Uhlenbrook, former Officer in Charge of UNESCO-IHE, has been appointed as UN WWAP Coordinator by the UNESCO Director General, Irina Bokova, and took office on 1 November 2015.

Prof. Uhlenbrook has worked for the UNESCO-IHE for almost 11 years and served as Professor of Hydrology and chair of the Hydrology Core Group (2005-2010), Director Academic Affairs (2010-2012), Vice Rector/Deputy Director (since 2013) and OiC/Acting Director (since November 2014).

Prof. Uhlenbrook obtained his PhD and Habilitation at the University of Freiburg, Germany, in 1999 and 2003, respectively. After working as assistant and associate professor in Germany, he became Professor of Hydrology at UNESCO-IHE (Delft, The Netherlands; 2005) and at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (2005-2010). Since 2009, he is also Professor of Experimental Hydrology at Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands.

Prof. Uhlenbrook's main scientific expertise is in the research of hydrological processes and river basin modeling at various spatial and temporal scales. 

Prof. Uhlenbrook has been involved in various research and capacity-building projects in Europe, North America, East Africa, Southern Africa, Southeast Asia and the Middle East. He has published several peer-reviewed papers in journals and books, as well as received several national and international scientific awards. He has also been a member of the editorial board of several key water journals, and is involved in the science steering committees of many international initiatives and conferences.


Capacity Building on Water and Sustainable Development

WWAP hosted for a week, from 19 to 23 October 2015, the capacity development training on Water and Sustainable Development, which aimed to provide policy-makers with tools for assessing water data, managing water resources and competing users, dealing with extreme events and with the challenge of growing urban environments, consistent with the priorities listed in the Sustainable Development goals (SDGs).

The training was addressed to medium-high level officers, decision-makers and senior water managers of water-related governmental institutions from the African Developing and Least Developed Countries.

Lectures were given by international professors during daily sessions and case studies have been presented by the participants themselves. Some of the subjects that have been discussed were water and sustainable development, information for better water management, managing water nexus conflicts, adapting to the impacts of extreme conditions, managing water for sustainable development and planning sustainable urban water infrastructure.

The course book and the proceedings, including the case studies, will be published and uploaded on WWAP website.

The 2nd National Water Festival

WWAP presented the latest edition of the World Water Development Report 2015 at the 2nd National Water Festival that took place in Porretta Terme, Bologna, Italy, on 25 September.
During the event WWAP also offered a special insight on its gender project and showcased the recently launched initiative “The Water Rooms”, a video-itinerary of five sequential “rooms” dedicated to the sustainable use of water resources. More information

The Water Rooms, an inspirational journey into the world of water

The United Nations World Water Assessment Programme (UN WWAP) of UNESCO and the Italian Ministry of Environment, together with Unilever and in partnership with Itaipu Binacional and Edison Spa, inaugurated the initiative: The Water Rooms: a journey to discover, understand and change.

The event took place at the Universal Exposition in Milan, on Monday, 21 September at 6.30pm, in the Auditorium of the Italian Pavilion.

The Water Rooms comprises five short animated films, five monologues and an informative web portal. The project illustrates the complex interconnections between water, food, energy and the environment in easily understandable terms while taking the audience on a journey that starts from the hydrological cycle leading up to critical reflections on the issues that are turning the quest for water into a security concern and to considerations about our ability and willingness to live sustainably.

The Water Rooms builds on the findings of the United Nations World Water Development Report 2015, Water for a Sustainable World, and on the scientific inputs from more than 60 Organizations and international experts. Internationally renowned authors and artists give life to the project: Vandana Shiva, Tony Allan, Marco Paolini, Studio Bozzetto and Steve Cutts, to name but a few.

The event is organized in the framework of the celebrations marking UNESCO’s 70th and International Day of Peace. It also contributes to the official UN-EXPO “Zero Hunger Challenge” call for action.

Download the programme

Watch the interviews to the experts

Follow @UNWWAP and #water4peace for more information on the project.

42nd International Association of Hydrogeologists Congress

Speakers and panel members of the WWAP Workshop. From the left: Shammy Puri, Francesca Greco, Roselie Schonewille, Endro Martini, Alice Aureli, Laurens Thuy, Stefano Burchi and Jippe Hoogeveen

The International Association of Hydrogeologists (IAH) Congress took place from 13-18 September in Rome. The theme of the congress is Hydrogeology: Back to the Future! The main focus is the 21st century requirements, and how to combine experience from the past with tools and need in the future.

The adoption of new tools is needed to cope with the increasing demand from water from the ever growing global population. Topics discussed during the congress are, among others, groundwater governance, sustainable groundwater management, and new tools and frontiers.

WWAP hosted a workshop in which the contents of the WWDR 2015 on ‘Water for a Sustainable World’ were presented. The keys outcomes of the report were further examined during a panel discussion on the water-energy-food nexus, issues of water governance, and river contracts in the Italian context. WWAP also presented the Project on Gender-Sensitive Monitoring, Assessment and Reporting, and its use in the UNESCO-IHP GGRETA Project on the assessment of groundwater resources.

More information.

WWDR 2017 Inception Meeting

This developmental workshop on the WWDR 2017, whose theme is “Wastewater”,  has been organized to reach a common understanding among key actors (including potential Lead and Contributing Agencies) on the scope, structure and content of the WWDR 2017.

The two days meeting will take place at WWAP premises, on Sept 16-17, where the representatives of the UN-Water agencies will meet to discuss:

1) A set of main messages to guide the structure and development of the report,
2) An advanced draft of the storyline that expresses these messages,
3) A draft annotated table of contents, and
4) The task distribution among committed Lead Agencies, Contributing Agencies and other potential actors.

CUCS 2015 IV Congress

The main aim of CUCS 2015 IV Congress, that took place in Brescia, Italy on September 10-12th, is to discuss the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), to be formally adopted at the upcoming United Nations Summit on September 25-27th. The theme of the Congress will be “Health and Wealth for all by the year 2030”. WWAP contributed in the parallel sessions through presentations on “Water, energy and food” and “Water and sustainable development” (10th of September) as well as on “Training in Cooperation for Development” (11th  of September). The content of the last two World Water Development Reports have been discussed, along with a specific case study on Good Water Governance in Brazil. In addition to this, the Capacity Development Training Programme (AGFUND) that WWAP is implementing, with special focus on sustainable development, has been presented. More information


Ready for the World Water Week

On 23 August 2015, WWAP convened the special event Water for a Sustainable World: Messages from the United Nations World Water Development Report 2015, at  2015 World Water Week in Stockholm.

Water for Development is the main theme of the World Water Week 2015 and the World Water Development Report, the flagship publication of UN-Water, provides a focused descriptive analysis that demonstrates how water is a key factor in a future sustainable world. Taking into account economic growth, social equity and environmental sustainability, a forward-looking narrative describes how major challenges and change factors in the modern world will affect – and can be affected by – water resources, services and related benefits in a not too distant future.

The audience interacted with the panelists on the vision of a sustainable world where water is managed in support of human well-being and ecosystems.
The main objective of the session was to inform general public, policy- and decision-makers, about the role and importance of water in a future, sustainable, world. The session addressed both thematic challenge areas and regional highlights.

In the following days, WWAP also co-organized the events below, related to gender sensitive water monitoring:

Mr. Syed Muhammad Ashiq Hussain Shah, Member of National Parliament of Pakistan and Parliamentary Task Force on MDGs and SDG. © Engin Koncagul

Ms. Blanca Jiménez-Cisneros, Secretary of the International Hydrological Programme (IHP) and the Director of Division of Water Sciences, UNESCO.© Francesca Greco

WWAP at the 27th Session of the International Co-ordinating Council of the MAB Programme

On 11 June 2015, Ms Michela Miletto, WWAP Coordinator a.i., participated in the intersectoral panel “exploring joint actions/projects within Post 2015 Agenda". This high level panel was organized by the Man and the Biosphere (MAB) programme within the framework of their 27th Session of International Coordinating Council meeting. The panel discussion aimed to be one of UNESCO’s contributions towards implementation of Post 2015 Development Agenda and provided a platform for strengthening collaboration between MAB and other UNESCO Programmes.

Ms. Miletto briefed the participants about WWAP, suggested possible means of collaboration in short-to-mid term and invited MAB to hold some of their meetings in WWAP premises in Perugia.

The other panelists who took the floor were:
•           Mr Hong Tianhua Deputy Director of the International Centre on Space Technologies for Natural and Cultural Heritage (UNESCO Category 2 Center, Beijing, China)
•           Mr Alex Makarigakis
•           Mr Alexander Leicht (Chief of of Education for Sustainable Development Section)
•           Mr Kishore Rao (Director of the World Heritage Center)

Read more

© Engin Koncagul

© Engin Koncagul

WWAP at the Universal Exposition 2015

WWAP participated at  Universal Exposition 2015 with a two-day high level conference on ‘Water for a Sustainable World’, on May 21 and 22 . The main highlight of the event has been the presentation of the main findings of the most recent UN World Water Development Report (2015 edition).

International water experts and United Nations representatives who contributed to the Report provided an analysis that demonstrates how water is a key factor in a future sustainable world.

The event took place at the EXPO Venice Pavilion, where from May 3rd to October 31st the universal exhibition dedicated to water, Aquae Venezia, occurs.

Read more on WWAP activities at EXPO


Presentation of the WWDR 2015 at the University of Perugia

On May 29th, the WWDR 2015 has been presented at the conference "H2O and more: water to drink and to feed, water for the city, water for energy" organized by the University of Perugia, in the framework of EXPO 2015. Download the brochure

Special session on the WWDR 2015 at the 7th World Water Forum

The World Water Development Report 2015 (WWDR 2015) provides a focused descriptive analysis that demonstrates how water is a key factor in a future sustainable world, which is one of the action goals of the 7th World Water Forum.

WWAP convened the special session on the WWDR 2015 at the 7th World Water Forum, on April 13, from 5 to 7:10 pm.

Taking into account economic growth, social equity and environmental sustainability, the forward-looking WWDR 2015 describes how major challenges and change factors in the modern world will affect – and can be affected by – water resources, services and related benefits in a not too distant future.

This session also featured real life examples from Case Studies and Indicators Report, UNESCO’s contribution to the WWDR 2015.

Highlights from the World Water Forum newspaper:

ISS astronaut echoes the findings of the 2015 World Water Development Report from outer space

© Samantha Cristoforetti A drop of water floats above Samantha Cristoforetti’s hand in zero gravity, on the ISS.


On Earth, like on ISS, water is limited: let's use it wisely. We're all crew of spaceship Earth,” cautioned Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, tweeting from the International Space Station. Her tweet echoed the messages of the 2015 United Nations World Water Development Report, which was being launched at the same time (20 March) in New Delhi to mark World Water Day celebrations.

Read more


The United Nations World Water Assessment Programme contribution to lay the foundation of the charter of Milan

On 7 February 2015 a high-level event was organized by the Italian Ministry of Agriculture to kick-start the discussions linked to the Expo 2015 theme: “Feed the planet, energy for life” and lay the basis for the Charter of Milan. The Charter of Milan will become a protocol, the first of its kind, over food security and related matters and will constitute the long lasting legacy of Expo 2015.

The Charter will be handed over to UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon on 16th of October 2015 during his visit at Expo Milano, as a contribution of the Universal Expo to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) discussions.

The “Expo of Ideas”, that took place in Hangar Bicocca in Milano, saw the participation of more than 500 international experts invited to brainstorm and deliberate around 42 thematic areas.

WWAP UNESCO Coordinator a.i., Ms. Michela Miletto, contributed to the working group dedicated to water. She reaffirmed the need for new and more comprehensive water resources assessments; the promotion of monitoring and researching water and gender aspects; and the importance of understanding and managing carefully the nexus water-food-energy-environment.

Several renowned guests were also present at the event or contributed with video messages. Pope Francis gave his welcome remarks during the opening session, stressing that we should not forget those who “lack access to food and strive each day to survive” adding that “iniquity is at the roots of all evil”.
Italy’s Prime Minister Matteo Renzi pointed out that Expo 2015 is “a great opportunity for the world and for Italy to tackle the food challenges”. Other personalities that participated to the event include: ex-president of Brazil Inacio Lula da Silva, FAO DG José Graziano da Silva and High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini.

Through this event, the consolidated collaboration between WWAP UNESCO and Expo 2015 continues. In the upcoming months other joint initiatives will take place, such as: the presentation of the World Water Development Report (WWDR) 2015 at Aquae Venezia on 21-22 May and the realization of the inspirational awareness raising project “The Water Rooms” at Expo Milan and Aquae Venezia.

For further information on WWAP activities for Expo 2015, please contact WWAP Advocacy Officer Lucilla Minelli l.minelli@unesco.org

More information

2015 UN-Water Annual International Zaragoza Conference

The UN-Water Annual International Zaragoza Conference will kick off the World Water Day 2015 campaign under the theme: Water and Sustainable Development: From Vision to Action. The post-2015 international agenda for water will be decided in 2015 and the purpose of this international conference is to bring the agenda into action; a practical event on tools for implementation (financing, technology, capacity development) and governance frameworks, for initiating the post-2015 agenda in water and sanitation.

WWAP participates to the conference with a preview of the upcoming World Water Development Report 2015 “Water for a Sustainable World”, that will be launched at the official celebrations of the World Water Day 2015 in New Delhi, India.

Don't miss the conference live webcast!

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