WWAP at World Water Day 2011 - ‘Water for cities: responding to urban challenges’

World Water Day is held annually on 22 March as a means of focusing attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources. Each year, World Water Day highlights a specific aspect of freshwater.

The 2011 World Water Day, ‘Water for cities: responding to urban challenges’, focused international attention on the impact that rapid urban population growth, industrialization and climate change have on water resources and environmental protection capabilities of cities and small towns. Key issues, such as the growing urban water and sanitation demand, increased pollution from municipal and industrial discharges, climate change and its unforeseen risks and challenges, overexploitation of available water resources, better targeting of the urban poor, were discussed. The critical role played by local governments and other service providers in tackling these challenges was explored as well.

On this occasion, WWAP organized a series of exciting initiatives to highlight the importance of freshwater resources, specifically in the framework of rapid urbanization, this year’s theme.


In Cape Town, South Africa – 21 march 2011

  • ‘On the Road to Rio+20: Managing water under uncertainty and risk’

During this session jointly organized by WWAP and the United Nations Secretary General Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation (UNSGAB), water management under conditions of uncertainty and risk was addressed through different perspectives - including water for urban settlements, valuation, pollution, disasters and the need for accurate information - with proper links to sustainable development.

  • ‘Water monitoring, assessment and reporting for informed decision-making, with a focus on Africa’

This session, jointly organized by WWAP and UN-Water/Africa, with the support of the African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW), addressed the data and information challenge and the state of assessment and monitoring at national, regional and global scales. Participants were offered the early findings of the 4th edition of the UN World Water Development Report (WWDR4) along with its African regional section, which will be made public in March 2012 at the 6th World Water Forum in Marseille, France.

WWAP and UN-Water/Africa also presented a roadmap towards a mechanism for systematic and periodic water assessment in Africa, and an Africa Water Development Report (AWDR). A facilitated discussion took place about implementing the Roadmap and reviving the AWDR process and related African Water Information Clearing House, both of which have been endorsed by AMCOW. Challenges related to the leadership, funding and ownership issues, facilitation and the role of the different parties at national, sub-regional and regional levels, were addressed.

In Perugia, Italy – 16-22 March 2001

  • 16 March: "Acqua per tutti, tutti per l’acqua" ("Water for all, all for water"), a day with schools from Umbria region organized with POST and Umbra Acque. Three schools who participated in the initiative "Acqua per tutti, tutti per l’acqua" in the framework of the World Water Monitoring Day (link to article on the project "WWAP and the WWMD", in News archives) presented their projects of water monitoring that have been selected by the organizers through an open competition.

Download flier [PDF, 1.1MB] (in Italian only)

  • 16 & 18 March: "Sguardi sull’acqua" ("Looks on water"). A selection of films, short films and documentaries on the theme of water were screened at Cinema Sant’Angelo and at the University for Foreigners, Perugia, thanks to the support of CinemAmbiente and the Reggio Film Festival.

Download flier [PDF, 1MB] (in Italian only)

  • 21 March: a roundtable on urban water management was organized and hosted by WWAP in its premises at the UNESCO Programme Office for Global Water Assessment in Colombella, Perugia. Local authorities and institutions, NGOs, universities and businesses presented and discussed case studies in relation to urban water management, innovative initiatives and good practices.
  • 22 March: World Water Day celebrations. WWAP, and national and local partners all celebrated the World Water Day and awarded the winner schools of the "Acqua per tutti, tutti per l’acqua" ("Water for all, all for water") competition.

In New York, UN Headquarters – 22 March 2011

More information coming soon!

The Secretary General’s Message on World Water Day

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