16.03.2011 -

The world celebrates World Water Day (22 March)

International 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.

An international day to celebrate freshwater was recommended at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED). The United Nations General Assembly responded by designating 22 March 1993 as the first World Water Day.

Each year, World Water Day highlights a specific aspect of freshwater. The objective of World Water Day 2011 is to focus international attention on the impact of rapid urban population growth, industrialization and uncertainties caused by climate change, conflicts and natural disasters on urban water systems.

This year’s theme, Water for cities: responding to the urban challenge, aims to spotlight and encourage governments, organizations, communities, and individuals to actively engage in addressing the challenge of urban water management.

The African Ministers' Council on Water (AMCOW), UN-HABITAT and UN-Water are co-organizing an official World Water Day 2011 event on 20 - 22 March 2011, in Cape Town, South Africa. UNESCO is involved in several World Water Day events around the world, including the official ceremony in South Africa.

UNESCO events

20 March 2011

Launch of UNESCO-IHP Urban Water Series
Convener: UNESCO-IHP
Venue: Cape Town,  South Africa
The event will include a special presentation of the series’ newly-published book “Advanced Simulation and Modeling for Urban Groundwater Management - UGROW”. The short film “Water in Cities” will also be shown; this film aims to illustrate present and future challenges in urban water management faced by cities around the world and to highlight the approaches that UNESCO’s International Hydrological Programme is pursuing to help countries address these challenges.

Monitoring, assessment and reporting for Informed decision-Making, with a Focus on Africa
Conveners: United Nations World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP), UN-Water/
Africa and African Minister’s Council on Water (AMCOW)
Venue: Cape Town,  South Africa
During this session, WWAP, UN-Water/Africa, AMCOW and invited partners will address the data and information challenge and the state of assessment and monitoring at national, regional and global scales.

Radical versus incremental change - how to SWItCH urban water systems to meet current and future challenges?
Conveners: SWITCH Consortium, UNESCO-IHE, ICLEI - Local Governments for
Venue: Cape Town,  South Africa
In this event, participants will explore if and how cities in a developing country context can accelerate the development of their urban water management systems by by-passing conventional, centralized approaches and promoting more decentralized and flexible solutions that promise a higher degree of sustainability.

21 March 2011

Groundwater Management in Urban areas
Convener: UNESCO-IHP
Venue: Cape Town,  South Africa
The session will seek to draw attention to the ‘invisible’ dimension of water management in cities and the vital role that groundwater plays in urban areas, which is frequently ignored. The session will include a demonstration of the UGROW software, a complete and fully integrated modelling package and a decision-support tool for urban water management.

On the Road to Rio+20: Managing water under uncertainty and risk
Convenors: United Nations World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP) and the United
Nations Secretary General Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation (UNSGAB)
Venue: Cape Town,  South Africa
During this session, water management under conditions of uncertainty and risk will be addressed through different perspectives - including water for urban settlements, valuation, pollution and disasters and the need for accurate information - with proper links to sustainable development.

22 March 2011 (World Water Day)

Big Splash for Water – Launch of the Global Chemistry Experiment: “Water, a Chemical Solution
Organized by UNESCO and IUPAC for World Water Day, African World Water Week and the International Year of Chemistry
Venue: Global event, launch event in Cape Town, South Africa
IUPAC and UNESCO have developed a set of experiments (acidity, salinity, filtration, distillation) for pupils of different ages to analyze the quality of water and learn how to treat their local water sources. Children all around the world will have the opportunity to upload the results of their investigations to an official website, making this initiative a Global Chemistry Experiment, and eventually, the biggest chemistry experiment ever.
The global experiment will be launched with a Big Splash on 22-25 March 2011, which coincides with World Water Day and National Water Week in South Africa. One thousand school children between the ages of 15-18 will participate by doing one of the experiments.

UNESCO workshop on Water and Governance
Organized by the Netherlands National Commission for UNESCO, Netherlands National Committee IHP-HWRP, UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education, Delfland Water Board, Co-operative Programme on Water and Climate (CPWC) and the Water Governance Centre
Venue: Delft, the Netherlands


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