Sep 05, 2013

World Water Week Opening Calls for Water Cooperation

Unprejudiced cooperation and solid partnerships to be a prerequisite for managing water

World Water Week Cooperation Over Water Population Growth

Global leaders gathered in Stockholm for the 23rd World Water Week, calling for strengthened cooperation over water. With the world's population and economies growing fast while the amount of available water remains the same, collaboration over this essential resource is more urgent than ever.

Addressing the opening session of World Water Week on Monday, Sept. 2, Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) Executive Director Torgny Holmgren said, "mortgaging our future by draining water from the ground, surface and sky faster than it can be replaced by nature is untenable and unwise. It will undermine the stability and security of our entire civilization."

The world's population is increasing rapidly. By 2050, the population will be 9 billion; however, the amount of water in the world will not increase. Unprejudiced cooperation and solid partnerships will be a prerequisite for successfully sharing and managing the water we have. According to SIWI, we need to strengthen transboundary cooperation, because water does not adhere to national boundaries; we need to build more and stronger bridges between the public and private sectors; we must learn to use less water better; and most importantly, we need to make sure that every person on Earth gets access to safe drinking water and sanitation.

Diseases caused by unsafe water, and poor sanitation and hygiene kill more than 5,000 people every day. Despite these staggering numbers, the area of sanitation often is neglected.

Jan Eliasson, deputy secretary-general of the United Nations, urged governments, development partners and the private sector to help change this.

"Lack of sanitation has a direct impact on health, nutrition, education, women's and girls' rights, and poverty reduction. I call on all concerned to do their part," Eliasson said.

In more than 100 seminars, workshops and events, more than 2,500 participants will meet under the theme "Water Cooperation — Building Partnerships." They will be encouraged to come up with innovative ways to move toward a water-wise future in which water is managed equitably and sustainably.

During the week, the Stockholm Water Prize will be awarded to Dr. Peter Morgan for his sanitation innovations, the company Netafim will receive the Stockholm Industry Water Award for pioneering drip and micro-irrigation technology and the winner of the Stockholm Junior Water Prize will be announced.