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p 2 - The International Year of Freshwater
p 6 - SESAME breaks new ground
p 7 - E-learning comes to Indias blind
p 8 - Avicenna virtual campus prepares for first intake
p 8 - The OCEANS programme charts new seas
p 9 - A life devoted to popularizing environmental science
p 10 - Parliamentarians call for international forum
on S&T policy
p 10 - Scientists to debate virtues of European Research
p 11 - New ICTP Director Katepalli R. Sreenivasan vows
to promote global scientific excellence
p 13 - Journey to the highest lake in the world
p 16 - The pastoralists of Wadi Allaqi
p 20 - Diary
p 20 - New releases
p 20 - Governing bodies
for a thirsty planet'
Mikhail Gorbatchev put it, ‘Just as we are moved by water,
we must now move in order to save it.’Water is intrinsic to
our lives and to the ecosystems upon which we all depend.
Every day, natural disasters such as floods and droughts,
and humanmade disasters such as pollution, are damaging this
resource and claiming human health and life.
the world population grows, so too is pressure growing on
our rivers, lakes and groundwater aquifers. In many parts
of the world, competition is increasing between users fighting
for their share of clean, usable water. Are agricultural demands
more important than using water for energy production? Are
demands of urban populations more important than rural needs?
Should we allow the natural environment to suffer through
changing river flows or tolerating pollution? All water uses
are interlinked, so only an integrated approach to water management
users affect the quantity and quality of waters available
to downstream users; and users along the course of a shared
river or aquifer must agree on realistic and sustainable use
of the resource if conflict is to be avoided. ‘If you are
looking for reasons to fight’, Uri Shamir has said, ‘water
can provide you with one. But if you seek peace, water makes
a good bridge for co-operation.’The examples in the present
issue of Lake Titicaca and the Columbia River show how water
sharing can work.
In 2000, the Director-General of UNESCO, Mr Koïchiro Matsuura,
announced the creation of the United Nations system-wide World
Water Assessment Programme composed of 23 agencies and convention
secretariats, and hosted by UNESCO. The primary product of
this Programme is the World Water Development Report, the
first edition of which is to be launched on 22 March at the
3rd World Water Forum in Kyoto (Japan).
Another key event later in the Year will be the Pan-African
Conference on Water Resources Management in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia),
co-organized by UNESCO’s International Hydrological Programme.
International Year of Freshwater is a year of opportunity,
a Year in which we, as individuals, communities, countries
and as a ‘global village’ must come to understand the urgency
of protecting and reviving our life-sustaining water resources.
Assistant Director-General for Natural Sciences