© UN Photo/Olivier Chassot

Science for Water Cooperation: Sharing Data, Knowledge and Innovations

World Science Day for Peace and Development, celebrated each year on 10 November, offers an opportunity to demonstrate how science is relevant to our daily lives and to engage the scientific community, policy makers and the public. This year’s theme, Science for Water Cooperation: Sharing Data, Knowledge and Innovations, highlights the key role played by Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) in addressing global water challenges.

Scientific cooperation on water issues is essential to strengthen capabilities for the collection, assessment, and monitoring of water related data (hydrological, hydrobiological, hydrogeological and meteorological data).

© UNESCO / John Emrys Morgan. Global Water and Miscoscience Experiments in Nigeria.

In order to understand current water-related challenges, sharing scientific data, knowledge and innovation is essential, as is integrating data from multiple disciplines to inform decision making and address issues such as providing equitable access to water for all, adapting to climate change, ensuring water security today and in future. Access to data is a prerequisite for such data analysis and a sign of real cooperation.

Cooperation is an inclusive endeavour

Science for water cooperation is not only about scientists: local communities, particularly women and indigenous peoples, are the holders of detailed knowledge of their water resources. They provide innovative approaches for quality and reliability, restrictions and acceptable storage methods and must be involved. By engaging communities and integrating all knowledge, including traditional and indigenous knowledge and the social and human sciences, water cooperation can also contribute to social transformation and to strengthen the social fabric of communities.

© UN Photo/Fred Noy

Water Cooperation includes collaboration across all boundaries and between countries. Reaching across disciplines, sharing data and collaboration creates a dynamic that facilitates the co-creation of innovative solutions and drives a process of mutual learning. Cross-fertilization of ideas and disciplines will produce new solutions, and promote greater understanding of complex problems related to water.

Celebrating the International Year of Water Cooperation 2013

The theme of World Science Day was chosen to contribute to the International Year of Water Cooperation 2013.

UN-Water —the United Nation's inter-agency coordination mechanism for all freshwater and sanitation-related issues— has called upon UNESCO to lead the International Year of Water Cooperation 2013, in view of the Organization’s mandate to pursue the goals of peace and sustainable development and its multi-dimensional mandate in the natural and social sciences, culture, education and communication and its significant and longstanding programmes contributing to the management of the world’s freshwater resources.

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Established by UNESCO in 2001, World Science Day for Peace and Development is celebrated worldwide on 10 November each year.