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World Water Week 2013 Calls for Dedicated SDG on Water

world-water-week6 September 2013: World Water Week concluded with the presentation by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) of the Stockholm Statement, which calls for a dedicated Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) on water. The statement will be presented as input to the UN General Assembly (UNGA) when it convenes in September 2013.

World Water Week 2013 took place in Stockholm, Sweden, from 1-6 September, on the theme 'Water Cooperation – Building Partnerships.' The meeting brought together over 2,600 participants to take part in over 100 seminars, workshops and plenary sessions. The Week is organized annually by SIWI. Collaborating partners in World Water Week included the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), WWF and the Global Water Partnership (GWP).

The Week addressed a wide range of issues related to water cooperation, including: transboundary water cooperation; water scarcity; hydrological variation and complexities; the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector; water security; water reuse and recycling; sustainable development and water in the post-2015 development agenda; flood management; hydropower; the water-energy-food nexus; information systems; finance for the water sector; and water pollution.

A number of cross-cutting issues were also addressed, such as: climate change adaptation and mitigation; food security; connections with oceans and coasts; human rights; urban areas; governance; and energy. Management paradigms to address water cooperation that were addressed during panels included: integrated water resources management (IWRM); capacity building; private sector investment and public-private-partnerships (PPPs); ecosystem-based approaches (EBA); and benefit sharing. Regional issues related to water cooperation in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) were also discussed.

During World Water Week, UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson stressed that “dealing effectively with the water and sanitation crisis is fundamental to fighting disease and poverty,” calling for leaders to “incorporate ‘open defecation' in the diplomatic discourse." UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Director-General Irina Bokova stressed the role of water cooperation in sustainable development, in particular for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and possible SDGs. HRH Prince El-Hassan Bin Talal, Jordan, and Chair of the UN Secretary-General's Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation (UNSGAB) stated that “development without sanitation, is development without dignity,” calling for a drive to achieve sanitation-related MDGs and addressing water and sanitation beyond 2015.

World Water Week saw the launch of a number of initiatives and reports. Among initiatives launched were: the 'Call to Action' to eliminate open defecation by 2025, launched on behalf of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon; the WBCSD Pledge for Access to Safe WASH at the Workplace; and the US and Sweden's Securing Water for Food – A Grand Challenge for Development.

Reports launched included: the UN-Water Water Country Briefs (WCBs); the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) report 'Water Security for Better Lives;' the OECD report 'Water and Climate Change Adaptation: Policies to Navigate Uncharted Waters;' the GWP policy briefs on 'Integrated Urban Water Management (IUWM),' 'International Law,' and 'The Economic Value of Moving Toward a More Water Secure World;' the GWP perspectives paper on 'Urban Groundwater;' a series of IUCN Building River Dialogue and Governance (BRIDGE) Project publications; and a book edited by the WWF and the UNESCO-affiliated Centre for Water Law, Policy and Science (CWLPS), University of Dundee titled 'The UN Watercourses Convention in Force: Strengthening International Law for Transboundary Water Management.' The GWP also relaunched its IWRM ToolBox, complete with a redesigned website.

Among other activities a giant puzzle organized by UN-Water to promote water cooperation was completed, and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) led a simulation game to demonstrate the importance of cooperation to water security in Asia. Peter Morgan, Zimbabwe, an inventor of water and sanitation innovations, was presented with the Stockholm Water Prize. [UN Press Release] [World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Press Release] [UNESCO Press Release 3 September] [UNESCO Press Release 2 September] [UNESCO Press Release] [UNESCO World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP) Press Release] [UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Press Release] [UN-Water Press Release] [World Water Day 2013 / International Year of Water Cooperation Press Release] [UN-Water Decade Programme on Advocacy and Communication (UN-DPAC) Press Release] [UN University Institute for Water, Environment and Health (UNU-INWEH) Press Release] [Ramsar Convention Press Release on WASH Event] [Ramsar Convention Press Release on Events on Dams] [World Bank Blog] [African Water Facility (AWF) Press Release] [ADB Press Release] [OECD Press Release] [OECD Participation in WWW] [SWA Partnership Press Release] [GWP Press Release 1 September] [GWP Press Release on IWRM ToolBox] [GWP Press Release on Adaptation] [EU Press Release] [World Water Week Website] [SIWI Press Release 6 September] [SIWI Press Release on Stockholm Water Prize] [SIWI Press Release on the Stockholm Statement] [SIWI Press Release on Stockholm Junior Prize] [SIWI Press Release 2 September] [SIWI Press Release 27 August] [Statement by an Eliasson, Deputy Secretary General of the UN] [Statement by RH Prince El-Hassan Bin Talal] [Stockholm Statement] [WBCSD Press Release] [Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) Press Release] [IUCN Press Release on Launch of BRIDGE Publications] [IUCN Press Release 30 July] [WWF Press Release] [USAID Press Release]