A selection of UN TV programmes, webcasts and video clips on issues in the news

Thursday, 28 March 2013

IBM Mobile App to Help Solve Water Challenges

IBM has launched a crowdsourcing project to help capture, share and analyze information about the water distribution system in South Africa.

The project, called WaterWatchers, is driven by a free mobile phone application and SMS capability that will enable South African citizens to report water leaks, faulty water pipes and general conditions of water canals. Every update will provide data points to an aggregated WaterWatchers report to create a single view of the issues challenging South Africa’s water distribution system.
The app was made available for Android last Friday to commemorate World Water Day.

After taking a photo and answering three questions about the particular water canal or pipe, the data is uploaded in real-time to a central database. After 30 days, the data will be analyzed and aggregated into a “leak hot spot” map for South Africa.

IBM began exploring crowdsourcing to address water-related issues in San Jose, Calif., with its CreekWatch mobile app, which is still available and currently being used in more than 25 countries.
WaterWatchers was adapted from the CreekWatch concept to include additional capabilities such as SMS and the ability to share photos on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.
Under-spending on water in South Africa has seen the department of water affairs increase spending by 20 percent to R9 billion ($900 million) in 2011-12, according to IBM. Similarly, spending on water sector management has increased by 28.8 percent year on year over the same period and spending on water infrastructure management has risen by 13.2 percent year on year, the company says.
But the pressure of urban population influx continues to place more strain on aging water infrastructure. According to the 2011 Census, 93 percent of South African households had access to safe water in 2010 but only 45 percent of those with access to water actually had it in their homes.
IBM says a WaterWatchers report will be made available to local municipalities, water control boards and other water system stakeholders once the data is filtered. This is intended to help local municipalities visualize and prioritize improvements to city water infrastructure.
Similar mobile phone apps applications could be used to monitor and report on other environmental issues such as wildlife, air quality and weather, the company says.

Also on World Water Day, Ford announced it has reduced the average amount of water used to make each vehicle by 8.5 percent between 2011 and 2012, putting the company more than halfway toward its goal of using an average of 4 cubic meters per vehicle globally by 2015.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

International Legal Forum St.Petersburg 2013, May 15th - 18th, 2013, St. Petersburg, Russia

St. Petersburg International Legal Forum :

 International Legal Forum St.Petersburg 2013

May 15th - 18th, 2013, St. Petersburg, Russia


St. Petersburg International Legal Forum has become an important event in the legal world in a short time. Its success is based on three main components. First, it is the participation of specialists of all legal areas. Second, we aim to make discussions practical as much as possible. Finally, we believe that participation of the leading experts from around the world advances the development of cooperation between the different legal systems.
Alexander Konovalov,
Minister of Justice of the Russian Federation
 The Forum attendees will include not only lawyers and arbitrators, but as well government representatives, Ministers of Justice, judges, and thus all aspects of international cooperation, including public law, will be covered. Discussion sessions related to this issue have shown good results at the last Forum. On my opinion, this format should be maintained, and the III Forum will be largely dedicated to the issues of public law.
Anton Ivanov,
Chairman of the Supreme Commercial Court of the Russian Federation

Friday, 22 March 2013

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon message on the occasion of ...

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon message on the occasion of the WMO HMNDP event

Multimedia Gallery of the World Meteorological Organization

World Water Day, Friday 22 March 2013

 United Nations Human Rights ,

Eight UN experts, one message: Progress and equality must go hand-in-hand with cooperation for water

GENEVA (22 March 2013) – A group of UN human rights experts on water and sanitation, food, extreme poverty, environment, health, discrimination against women, violence against women and the promotion of an equitable, democratic international order marks World Water Day, which this year is devoted to Water Cooperation.
“In all we do, whoever we are and however we live – water is central to our lives. We need water every single day to meet basic needs: for drinking and cooking, for our personal hygiene, to grow the food we eat, to keep us healthy. Water is essential for the health of ecosystems. And water is also needed for industry and for tourism, among others.
Increasingly, water is subject to allocation through market mechanisms, with the risk that the poor will be priced out. It is crucial to ensure cooperation between the competing users of water, to ensure that the human rights of all are realized and also that the most marginalized and vulnerable are not negatively affected by unequal resource allocation at every turn, by every decision on water resource allocation.
Human rights require that considerations of the needs of marginalized and vulnerable individuals and groups are prioritized, and that the necessary resources are affordable to those who need them.”
Water and sanitation
“On the missions that I undertake for the UN, I systematically witness the negative effects of climate change, increased water scarcity for the most vulnerable people and often a complete neglect of peoples’ right to water in face of other water uses, as agri-business, large-scale industry and tourism. It is clear that individual people’s rights must come first and to make this happen, different users must come together, cooperate and make sure that the available water reaches everyone in conditions of quality and affordability.” The UN Special Rapporteur on the human right to water and sanitation, Catarina de Albuquerque
“Freshwater resources are essential for agriculture to sustain the world population with adequate and nutritious food. However, while 70% of all water resources are used for agriculture, all too often this precious and frequently limited resource is not equally shared between all those who need it, but is rather distributed according to who can afford to pay the most, or who owns the land under which it is located.” The UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Olivier de Schutter
Extreme poverty
“Persons living in poverty are disproportionately affected by limited access to water and are often forced to inhabit areas in which access to water is restricted owing to cost, lack of infrastructure, denial of services to persons without secure tenure, poor resource management, contamination or climate change. Access to clean water is key to reducing many aspects of poverty and States must take measures to ensure that persons living in poverty are not charged higher rates for water services owing to consumption levels.” The UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and extreme poverty, Magdalena Sepúlveda
“Improved water resources and wastewater management are key to ensuring a safe and healthy environment. Overexploitation of many of the surface water resources and great aquifers upon which irrigated agriculture and domestic supplies depend has resulted in more and more countries facing water stress or scarcity. Within those countries, it will be those living in remote areas, the marginalized and vulnerable who are most negatively affected by this water scarcity.” The UN Independent Expert on human rights and the environment, John Knox
“Safe water and adequate sanitation are key underlying determinants of health. We have seen too often when inadequate access to water and sanitation has undermined the realization of the right to health by threatening life, devastating health, eroding human dignity and causing deprivation. International cooperation is essential to improve water supply, manage water resources and treat waste-water. Better water management, including the protection of water ecosystems, through enhanced cooperation between all stakeholders is also crucial in preventing, controlling and reducing water-related diseases. These are indispensable steps to ensure the human right to health for everyone everywhere.” The UN Special Rapporteur on the right to health, Anand Grover
International order
“With the growth of the world population, the global climate change and the need for a greater healthy environment, access to water resources has become a crucial condition for the realization of an equitable international order, where the needs of the peoples are effectively addressed. In this regard, the need for international cooperation, including in joint effort with relevant non-state actors, is paramount to ensure water is made available to all without discrimination. Water is a human right, an enabling right, not a mere commodity.” The UN Independent Expert on the promotion of an equitable and democratic international order, Alfred de Zayas
Discrimination against women and violence against women
“States must pay attention to the gender dimensions of water supply and distribution since women are intrinsically linked to water resources because of their roles and responsibilities in using and managing water, in particular in rural areas. Since women and girls often cook, clean, farm, and provide health care and hygiene for their households, they are on the front lines of their communities’ water issues. They often have to travel considerable distances to collect water, facing an enhanced risk of sexual and other forms of violence. Women’s voices must be heard at local, national and international levels if global equity is to prevail in the water-scarce world we are living in.” The UN Working Group on the issue of discrimination against women in law and in practice, Ms. Kamala Chandrakirana, Chair-Rapporteur; and the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, Ms. Rashida Manjoo
“Let us celebrate this International Year of Water Cooperation by appreciating the services we have – and ensuring that those without access to this resource, to this incomparable service, gain access – without prejudice - through cooperation between the many different parties with a claim to this planet’s most precious elixir, in all we do, whoever we are and however we live.”

For more information log on to:
Water and sanitation:
Extreme poverty:
International order:
Discrimination against women:
Violence against women:
For further information and media requests, please contact Ms. Madoka Saji (+41 22 917 9107 /

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Xabier Celaya, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 /
UN Human Rights, follow us on social media:
Check the Universal Human Rights Index:

"World Water Day 2013 highlights a specific aspect of freshwater" :FAO Water , Development and Management Unit

FAO Water , Development and Management Unit

 Each year, World Water Day highlights a specific aspect of freshwater. In 2013, in reflection of the International Year of Water Cooperation, World Water Day is also dedicated to the theme of cooperation around water and is coordinated by UNESCO in collaboration with UNECE and UNDESA on behalf of UN-Water.

As in most years, the topic is one of great significance to the work of FAO Water and crosses over into many of our topic areas such as Water Quality, Water Resources mangement and perhaps most significantly, last years World Water Day topic of Water and Food Security.

Download the infographic on Water Cooperation: frecciaEnglish frecciaEspañol
View the Official World Water Day 2013 Brochure: frecciaEnglish frecciaFrançais
Download our Water Cycle Poster for Kids: frecciaEnglish frecciaFrançais frecciaEspañol

Thursday, 21 March 2013

World Down Syndrome Day 2013

World Down Syndrome Day “Right to Work” Conference
United Nations Headquarters Conference Room 4
 New York - 21 March 2013, PROGRAM BOOK

The aim of the Day is to raise awareness and increase the understanding about Down syndrome, to promote the inherent rights and dignity of persons with Down syndrome to enjoy full and dignified lives and to recognize the worth and valuable contributions of people with Down syndrome (DS). The Day also works to ensure the inclusion of people with Down syndrome in every aspect of their community and society.

International Day of Forests 2013

Key messages

Deforestation Fell Almost 20 Per Cent in Past Decade, United Nations Secretary-General Says in Message for International Day of Forests 2013

Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message for the International Day of Forests, to be observed on 21 March:

Forests are vital for our well-being.  They cover nearly a third of the globe and provide an invaluable variety of social, economic and environmental benefits.  Three fourths of freshwater comes from forested catchment areas.  Forests stabilize slopes and prevent landslides; they protect coastal communities against tsunami and storm.  More than 3 billion people use wood for fuel; some 2 billion people depend on forests for sustenance and income, and 750 million live within them.

By proclaiming the International Day of Forests, the United Nations has created a new platform to raise awareness about the importance of all types of forest ecosystems to sustainable development.

Forests are often at the frontlines of competing demands.  Urbanization and the consumption needs of growing populations are linked to deforestation for large-scale agriculture and the extraction of valuable timber, oil and minerals.  Often the roads that provide infrastructure for these enterprises ease access for other forest users, who can further exacerbate the rate of forest and biodiversity loss.

Forests are also central to combating climate change.  They store more carbon than is in the atmosphere.  Deforestation and land-use changes account for 17 per cent of human-generated carbon dioxide emissions.  As weather patterns alter due to climate change, many forested areas are increasingly vulnerable.  This underlines the urgency of a global, inclusive, legally binding climate change agreement that will address greenhouse gas emissions and encourage the protection and sustainable management of forests.

Notwithstanding these immense challenges, there are encouraging signs.  The global rate of deforestation has decreased by almost 20 per cent in the past decade.  We need now to intensify efforts to protect forests, including by incorporating them into the post-2015 development agenda and the sustainable development goals.

On this first International Day of Forests, I urge Governments, businesses and all sectors of society to commit to reducing deforestation, preventing forest degradation, reducing poverty and promoting sustainable livelihoods for all forest-dependent peoples.

Ban Ki-Moon

During the International Year of Forests in 2011, the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) provided the following key messages for outreach initiatives.  They continue to hold true in 2013.

Forests and air

  • Over 40 percent of the world's oxygen is produced from the rainforests. 
  • Forests contribute to the balance of oxygen, carbon dioxide and humidity 
    in the air.

Forests and water

  • A tree releases 8-10 times more moisture into the atmosphere than the 
    equivalent area of the ocean.
  • Forests protect watersheds which supply fresh water to rivers.
  • Loss of forests could affect rainfall patterns globally, especially in food 
    growing regions in Latin America, the American mid-West and Central Asia. 
  • Deforestation leads to soil erosion and rivers being silted, which reduces 
    access to clean water.

Forests and biodiversity

  • Forests are home to over 80% of terrestrial biodiversity. 
  • In the Amazon basin alone, more than 1,300 species of forest plants are 
    used for medicinal or cultural purposes.
  • 12% of the world’s forests are designated for the conservation of biological 
    diversity (FRA 2010).
  • Deforestation of closed tropical rainforests could account for the loss of as 
    many as 100 species a day.

Forests build resilience to natural disasters 

  • Nearly 330 million hectares of forest are designated for soil and water 
    conservation, avalanche control, sand dune stabilization, desertification 
    control or coastal protection. (FRA 2010)
  • Mangrove forests act as a barrier against tsunamis, cyclones and 
  • ‘Green Wall for the Sahara’ The European Union and African Union are 
    implementing a project to build a ‘green wall’ of trees across the Sahara 
    to push back desertification and to secure agriculture and livelihoods in 
    the sahelo-saharan zone.

Forests and land

  • Forests cover 31% of global land area
  • Forests and tree cover combat land degradation and desertification by stabilizing soils, reducing water and wind erosion and maintaining nutrient cycling in soils.

Forests are a key part of the climate change solution

  • The carbon in forests exceeds the amount of carbon currently in the atmosphere.  FRA 2010 estimates that the world’s forests store 289 gigatonnes (Gt) of carbon in their biomass alone.
  • 17.4% of global greenhouse gas emission resulted from deforestation and forest degradation.
  • Forests offer the quickest, most cost-effective and largest means of curbing global emissions. It would save the world approximately $3.7 trillion between 2010 and 2200 if we halve greenhouse gas emissions (The Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change, 2006).

Healthy forests, healthy people

  • Tropical forests provide a vast array of medicinal plants used in healing and healthcare, worth an estimated $108 billion a year.  
  • More than a quarter of modern medicines originate from tropical forest plants.
  • Forests curb infectious diseases. Undisturbed tropical forests can have a moderating effect on insect- and animal-borne disease:
    • 40% of the world’s population lives in malaria infested regions. Heavily deforested areas can see a 300 fold increase in the risk of malaria infection compared to areas of intact forest.
    • 72% of emerging infectious diseases transmitted from animals to humans come from wildlife as opposed to domesticated animals. Deforested areas increase contact between wildlife and humans and affect pathogen transmission.

Forests are our livelihoods/wealth

  • 1.6 billion people around the world depend on forests for their livelihoods and daily subsistence needs.
  • The global gross value-added in the forestry sector is US$ 468 billion.
  • The global trade in primary wood products is US$ 235 billion.
  • Tropical forests provide pollination services to agriculture valued at US$12 billion per year. 
  • Given that more than 1 billion hectares of degraded areas throughout the world are suitable for forest landscape restoration, community-based forest management could be woven into other existing rural economic activities.

UNESCO - Ms Irina Bokova on the Occasion of World Poetry Day 2013

Poetry is one of the purest expressions of linguistic freedom. It is a component of the identity of peoples and it embodies the creative energy of culture, for it can be continuously renewed.

This power of poetry is transmitted from generation to generation, in the hallowed texts of great authors and in the works of anonymous poets. We are duty bound to transmit this heritage – the legacy of Homer, Li Bai,  Tagore, Senghor and countless others – for it bears living witness to the cultural diversity of humanity. We, in turn, must tend it to bear fruit, as a source of linguistic wealth and dialogue.

In celebrating World Poetry Day, UNESCO wishes also to promote the values that poetry conveys, for poetry is a journey – not in a dream world, but often close to individual emotions, aspirations and hopes. Poetry gives form to the dreams of peoples and expresses their spirituality in the strongest terms --it emboldens all of us also to change the world.

Poets in all countries have bequeathed timeless verses in defence of human rights, gender equality and respect for cultural identities. Paul Eluard wrote “freedom ... I write thy name”

. To this day , poetry brings the winds of freedom and dignity in the struggle against violence and oppression. For all of these reasons, UNESCO supports poets and everyone who publishes, translates, prints or disseminates poetry. It does so by protecting the diversity of cultural expressions and by preserving poetry recitals listed as intangible cultural heritage of humanity , as many ways to embellish the world and construct the defences of peace in the minds of men and women.

Irina Bokova

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

United Nations Observances for March

International Day of Happiness 2013

International Day of Happiness 2013, Secretary-General's Message.

The pursuit of happiness lies at the core of human endeavours. People around the world aspire to lead happy and fulfilling lives free from fear and want, and in harmony with nature.

Yet, basic material well-being is still elusive for far too many living in extreme poverty. For many more, recurring socio-economic crises, violence and crime, environmental degradation and increasing threats of climate change are an ever-present threat.

At last year’s Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development, United Nations Member States agreed on the need for a balanced approach to sustainable development by integrating its three pillars – economic growth, social development and environmental protection. They recognized that in order to better inform policy decisions, broader measures of progress should complement Gross Domestic Product.

I am encouraged by the efforts of some Governments to design policies based on comprehensive well-being indicators. I encourage others to follow suit. On this first International Day of Happiness, let us reinforce our commitment to inclusive and sustainable human development and renew our pledge to help others. When we contribute to the common good, we ourselves are enriched. Compassion promotes happiness and will help build the future we want.

International Day of Happiness,  March 20th

Monday, 18 March 2013

The 20th Anniversary of World Water Day

World Water Day

 High-Level Interactive Dialogue of the UN General Assembly on Water Cooperation ,

At the occasion of  World Water Day, Friday, 22 March 2013.

Background : At the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro in June 2012 (Rio+20), Member States recognized that “water is at the core of sustainable development as it is closely linked to a number of key global challenges”. Water is essential for human health and well-being, food and energy production, social and economic stability, and for protecting and maintaining healthy ecosystems.But water is also a finite and vulnerable resource under mounting pressure.

 Around the world, freshwater resources are threatened by climate change, urbanization, population growth, pollution and other drivers of change. Analysis suggest that by 2030 demand for freshwater will outstrip supply by 40 percent. Between 2000 and 2050, the number of people living in river basins under severe water stress is expected to more than double, reaching almost 4 billion people. While too little water can have devastating effects on humanity, too much water can also be fatal. In recent decades, the frequency and intensity of water-related disasters such as floods and droughts have been rising substantially, claiming the lives of millions of people and damaging the economies of many countries.

The UN General Assembly declared 2013 the International Year of Water Cooperation (A/RES/65/154). Enhancing cooperation and building partnerships at the local, national and transboundary levels will be critical to address freshwater-related challenges. A wide range of activities around the world will help raise awareness on the potential and challenges to water cooperation, facilitate dialogue among stakeholders and promote innovative solutions. This year’sWorld Water Day 2013 on 22 March will be also de dicated to the theme of water cooperation.

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.

This year also marks the 20th anniversary of the commemoration of World Water Day Day and in this regard, the event will provide an opportunity to share experiences and highlight the lessons learnt over the past 20 years.
Each year, World Water Day highlights a specific aspect of freshwater. On this page, we present a brief overview of the different themes that have been the focus of World Water Day celebrations.


    Draft Programme of High-Level Interactive Dialogue of the UN General Assembly on Water Cooperation 
10:00 – 11:00 - Opening Session
• H.E. Mr. Vuk Jeremic, President of UN General Assembly
• H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General (tbc)
• H.E. Mr. Okil Okilov, Prime Minister of Tajikistan
• H.E. Dr. Rashid Ahmed Bin Fahad, Minister of Environment and Water,United Arab Emirates
• H.E. Mr. Federico Ramos de Armas, State Secretary of Environment, Spain

11:00 – 11:20 - Videolink to the official World Water Day in the Hague (GA Hall)

11:30 – 13:00 - Panel 1: Setting the Stage - Issues, Challenges and Opportunities for WaterCooperation
Moderator: Jan Eliasson, UN Deputy Secretary-General

• HE Mr. M. Salem Ould Merzoug, High Commissioner of the Senegal RiverOrganization (OMVS) and President of the International Network of RiverBasin Organizations (INBO)
• Dr. Zafar Adeel, Director, UNU Institute for Water, Environment and Health(UNU-INWEH)
• Dr. Uschi Eid, Vice-Chair of the UN SG’s Advisory Board on Water andSanitation and Co-Chair of the Bonn 2011 water, energy and food securityconference
• Other panelists have been contacted

Interactive dialogue
 13:00 – 15:00 - Lunch break (Side event: hosted by Spain “Achieving the MDGs through Governance of Water and Sanitation. The Experience of the MDG Fund”; Conference room 7, NLB,13.15-14.30 hrs)
15:00 – 16:40 - Panel 2: Exploring Proposals, Strategies and Cooperative Solutions for the Period after 2015, Moderator: tbc

• Ms. Kusum Athukorala, Researcher and Advocacy Specialist, Chair of NetWater and the Sri Lanka Water Partnership (tbc)
• Mr. Jeremy Bird, Director General of the International Water Management Institute
 • Prof. Benedito Braga, President of the World Water Council
 Ms. Julia Bucknall, Head of Water, World Bank
• Mr. Jason Morrison, Technical Director of the CEO Water Mandate
• Other panelists have been contacted

Interactive dialogue
 After the dialogue, Closing Session
• H.E. Mr. Vuk Jeremic, President of the General Assembly

World Water Day 2013 - Water Cooperation

In December 2010, the United Nations General Assembly declared 2013 as the United Nations International Year of Water Cooperation. In reflection of this declaration, the 2013 World Water Day, which will take place on 22 March 2013, also will be dedicated to water cooperation. Therefore, UN-Water has called upon UNESCO to lead the 2013 United Nations International Year on Water Cooperation, in particular because of the Organization’s unique multidisciplinary approach which blends the natural and social sciences, education, culture and communication. Given the intrinsic nature of water as a transversal and universal element, the United Nations International Year on Water Cooperation naturally would embrace and touch upon all these aspects.

Visit the Water Cooperation 2013 web site
World Water Day 2012 - Water and Food Security

World Water Day 2013 was coordinated by the The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and attempted to seek out solutions to the increasingly critical issues posed by water and food security. With population increase and economic growth, water demands for cities and for the industry are growing much faster than those of agriculture. In some regions, increasing competition for water is constraining both current availability of water for irrigation and further expansion of the irrigated area. In agriculture alone, staples, livestock, inland fisheries and aquaculture, and non-food crops - including liquid biofuels – already compete for water resources. The steady increase of inland aquaculture also contributes to the competition for water resources. Increased competition for water often translates into loss of access to water for the poor and other vulnerable groups. For millions of smallholder farmers, fishers and herders, water is one of the most important factors of production: without water, they cannot make a living.

Visit the World Water Day 2012 web site

 World Water Day 2011 - Water and Urbanisation

For the first time in human history most of the world's population live in cities: 3.3 billion people ...and the urban landscape continues to grow. 38% of the growth is represented by expanding slums, while the city populations are increasing faster than city infrastructure can adapt.
The objective of World Water Day 2011 was 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.
Water for cities: responding to the urban challenge, aimed to spotlight and encourage governments, organizations, communities, and individuals to actively engage in addressing the challenges of urban water management.

Visit the World Water Day 2011 web site
Download the Final report: World Water Day 2011
World Water Day 2010 - Water Quality

UN-Water dedicated World Water Day 2010 to the theme of water quality, reflecting its importance alongside quantity of the resource in water management. The World Water Day 2010 campaign is envisaged to raise awareness about sustaining healthy ecosystems and human well-being through addressing the increasing water quality challenges in water management and to raise the profile of water quality by encouraging governments, organizations, communities, and individuals around the world to actively engage in proactively addressing water quality e.g. in pollution prevention, clean up and restoration.

Visit the World Water Day 2010 web site    

World Water Day 2009 - Transboundary Waters

In 2009, the theme for World Water Day is "Shared Water - Shared Opportunities". Special focus will be placed on transboundary waters. Nurturing the opportunities for cooperation in transboundary water management can help build mutual respect, understanding and trust among countries and promote peace, security and sustainable economic growth. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) leads the activities of the World Water Day 2009 with the support of United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

Visit the World Water Day 2009 web site

World Water Day 2008 - Sanitation

In 2008, World Water Day coincided with the International Year of Sanitation, and challenged us to spur action on a crisis affecting more th1an one out of three people on the planet. Every 20 seconds, a child dies as a result of the abysmal sanitation conditions endured by some 2.6 billion people globally. That adds up to an unconscionable 1.5 million young lives cut short by a cause we know well how to prevent. Ceremonies for the day took place at Geneva, Switzerland. Speakers included Royal Highness Willem-Alexander, Prince of Orange and Director-General of WHO Dr Margaret Chan.

Visit the World Water Day 2008 web site

World Water Day 2007 - Coping with Water Scarcity

The growing problem of Water Scarcity was the topic for World Water Day 2007. The theme highlighted the increasing significance of water scarcity worldwide and the need for increased integration and cooperation to ensure sustainable, efficient and equitable management of scarce water resources, both at international and local levels. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) hosted ceremonies for the daywhich included and opening address from FAO Secretary-General Jaques Diouf, and video addresses from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and Green Cross International President Mikhail Gorbachev.

Visit the World Water Day 2007 web site
World Water Day 2006 - Water & Culture

The Theme of World Water Day 2006 was Water and Culture under the leadership of UNESCO.

The theme 'Water and Culture' of 2006 drew the attention to the fact that there are as many ways of viewing, using, and celebrating water as there are cultural traditions across the world. Sacred, water is at the heart of many religions and is used in different rites and ceremonies. Fascinating and ephemeral, water has been represented in art for centuries - in music, painting, writing, cinema - and it is an essential factor in many scientific endeavours as well.

World Water Day 2005 - Water for Life 2005-2015

The Theme of World Water Day 2005 was: Water for Life 2005 - 2015.

The United Nations General Assembly at its 58th session in December 2003 agreed to proclaim the years 2005 to 2015 as the International Decade for Action, "Water for Life", and beginning with World Water Day, March 22, 2005. The Water for Life decade set the world’s goals on “a greater focus on water-related issues, while striving to ensure the participation of women in water-related development efforts, and further cooperation at all levels to achieve water-related goals of the Millennium Declaration, Johannesburg Plan of Implementation of the World Summit for Sustainable Development and Agenda 21.”

World Water Day 2004 - Water & Disasters

The UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction and the World Meteorological Organization were charged with co-ordinating events for World Water Day 2004.

The message of the Day was: Weather, climate and water resources can have a devastating impact on socio-economic development and on the well-being of humankind. According to the World Meteorological Organization weather and climate-related extreme events, such as tornadoes, thunderstorms, storms, cyclones, floods and drought, account for nearly 75 per cent of all disasters. They lead to an enormous toll of human suffering, loss of life and economic damage. Monitoring these events, predicting their movements and issuing timely warnings are essential to mitigate the disastrous impact of such events on population and economy.

World Water Day 2003 - Water for the Future

Water for the Future was the theme for World Water Day 2003. It called on each one of us to maintain and improve the quality and quantity of fresh water available to future generations. This is essential if we are to achieve the Millennium Development Goal to halve, by 2015, the number of people living without safe drinking water and basic sanitation.

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) was the the lead UN agency for World Water Day 2003. The goal was to inspire political and community action and encourage greater global understanding of the need for more responsible water use and conservation.
World Water Day 2002 - Water for Development

Water for Development was the theme for 2002. The Internation Atomic Energy Agency was the coordinating UN agency. The currectly poor and deteriorating state of water resources in many parts of the world demand integrated water resources planning and management.

Visit the World Water Day 2002 web site

World Water Day 2001 - Water & Health

Water for Health - Taking Charge was the theme for 2001. The WHO was the coordinating UN agency.

The message for the day was: "Concrete efforts are necessary to provide clean drinking water and improve health as well as to increase awareness world-wide of the problems and of the solutions. 22 March is a unique occasion to remind everybody that solutions are possible. Use the resources on this site to help turn words into political commitment and action.”

World Water Day 2000 - Water for the 21st Century

"The availability and quality of water is increasingly under strain. Even if conditions were to remain constant for the foreseeable future, much of the world would find itself in a state of water-related crisis. To make matters worse, populations are growing most rapidly in those areas where water is already in scarce supply”.

This is how Wim Kok, Prime Minister of the Netherlands, starts his welcome words in the second announcement for the Second World Water Forum and Ministerial Conference that began in the Netherlands in the week prior to 22 March 2000.

From 17–22 March 2000, hundreds of water specialists, politicians, leading experts and top officials from all across the globe convened in The Hague. The event marked the conclusion to a long series of sessions during which thousands of concerned citizens addressed the water crisis that threatens us all.

World Water Day 1999 - Everyone Lives Downstream

Excessive flooding of major rivers in the world in 1998 have resulted in thousands of deaths and caused enormous damage in China, Bangladesh, and India, where nearly half of the world population lives. They were not only the result of excessive rains, but also of interference by mankind in the river basins. These tragedies make us realize that virtually everybody in this world lives downstream. UNEP was the coordinating UN agency.


World Water Day 1998 - Groundwater - The Invisible Resource

The sixth annual World Water Day (WWD) was celebrated on 22 March 1998. As per the recommendations of the 17th meeting of the ACC Sub-Committee on Water Resources, UNICEF and the United Nations Division of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), took the lead in organizing the observance of World Water Day in 1998.

World Water Day 1997 - The World's Water, Is There Enough?

The message of the day was: Water is a basic requirement for all life, yet water resources are facing more and more demands from, and competition among, users.

World Water Day 1996 - Water for Thirsty Cities

The 3rd annual World Water Day was celebrated on March 22, 1996, with the theme, Water for Thirsty Cities. It emphasized the growing water crisis faced by cities across the world which threatens the sustainability of their social and economic development.

World Water Day 1995 - Women & Water

For the first time Lesotho celebrated the "World Day for Water", on March 22, 1995. The international theme for the day was 'Women and Water'. The Department of Water Affairs organized two main activities for the celebration of the Day: on water pollution and on environmental degradation.

World Water Day 1994 - Caring for Our Water Resources is Everyone's Business

The Theme of World Water Day 1994 was 'Caring for Our Water Resources is Everyone's Business'

Sunday, 17 March 2013

March 23 is World Meteorological Day

 World Meteorology Organization Strategic Plan 2012-2015 :

This Strategic Plan provides a clear path forward for the Organization to address the critical global societal needs agreed upon by Members.WMO is focusing its strategic direction for the period 2012–2015 on five strategic thrusts that address global societal needs and facilitate the achievement of eight expected results. Its Strategic Plan underscores the importance ofimproving service quality and service delivery by advancing scientific research and application,strengthening capacity-building, building and enhancing partnerships and cooperation, and strengthening good governance. Within the strategic thrusts and expected results are five strategic priority areas of focus that will make a significant contribution to the achievement of expected results. Advancing these priorities offers great potential for improving weather,climate, water and related environmental products and services offered by the NMHSs; for enhanc-ing the contribution of WMO and its Members to global initiatives; and for strengthening the capacities of NMHSs in all countries, especially developing and least developed countries, and their involvement in regional and global activities.


 -Societal benefits of weather, climate and water services,
- Purpose and context of the WMO Strategic Plan,
- Structure of the WMO Strategic Plan 2012–2015,
- Global Framework for Climate Services.,
- StrategIc thrusts linkIng to expected results,key Outcomes and key performance Indicators,
- Improving service quality and service delivery,
- Advancing scientific research and application,as well asdevelopment and implementation of technology,
- Strengthening capacity-building,
- Building and enhancing partnerships and cooperation,
- Strengthening good governance,
- WMO OperatIng plan,
- WMO reSultS-baSed budget.


1 - Adams, R.M., C.-C. Chen, B.A. McCarl and R.F. Weiher, 1999: The economic consequences of ENSO events for agriculture. Climate Research
2 - Georgakakos, K.P. and N.E. Graham, 2008: Potential benefits of seasonal inflow prediction uncertainty for reservoir release decisions. Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology
3 - Golnaraghi, M., J. Douris and J.B. Migraine, 2009: Saving lives through early warning systems and emergency preparedness. In: Risk Wise. Leicester, Tudor Rose Publishing, pp. 137–141.
4 - Gunasekera, D., 2002: Economic Issues Relating to Meteorological Service Provision. Bureau of Meteorology Research Centre Research Report No. 102. Melbourne, Australian Bureau of
5 - Meza, F.J., J.W. Hansen and D. Osgood, 2008: Economic value of seasonal climate forecasts for agriculture: review of ex-ante assessments and recommendations for future research. Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, 47:1269–1286.
6 - World Meteorological Organization, 2007: Convention of the World Meteorological Organization. In: Basic Documents No. 1 (WMO-No. 15), Geneva

Watching the weather to protect life and property — Celebrating 50 years of World Weather Watch



  Message from M. Jarraud, Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization

World Meteorological Day was established in 1960 to make the work of National Meteorological and Hydrological Services better known and appreciated by the public of all countries. The date of 23 March was chosen to celebrate the entry into force, in 1950, of the Convention of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
The theme chosen for 2013 is “Watching the weather to protect life and property”, also celebrating 50 Years of the World Weather Watch. This theme highlights one of the raisons d’être of WMO — the reduction of casualties and damage from weather-, climate- and water-related hazards. At the same time, World Meteorological Day 2013 acknowledges the fundamental contribution of the World Weather Watch to this goal.
The growing impact of weather extremes cannot be ignored. Over the last 30 years natural disasters took the lives of over 2 million people and produced economic losses estimated at over 1.5 trillion US dollars. Almost 90 percent of such disasters, more than 70 percent of the casualties and almost 80 percent of the economic losses were caused by weather-, climate- or water-related hazards such as tropical cyclones, storm surges, heat waves, droughts, floods or related disease epidemics.
WMO provides a fundamental contribution to the protection of life and property, through its Programmes and the network of over 190 National Meteorological and Hydrological Services. Weather forecasts and early warnings to governments, various economic sectors and individuals help prevent and mitigate disasters.
The World Weather Watch has played an essential role in this effort. Established in 1963, in the middle of the Cold War, the World Weather Watch is a landmark in global cooperation. It combines observing systems, telecommunication facilities, and data-processing and forecasting centres to make available meteorological and environmental information needed to allow real-time exchange of information and to provide efficient services in all countries.
With the expansion of needs for weather and climate services and with spectacular scientific and technological advances, today the World Weather Watch lies at the heart of many programmes of both WMO and other agencies. It provides a fundamental contribution to WMO priorities through improved observations, atmosphere and ocean monitoring, dissemination of weather predictions worldwide, especially early warnings of severe-impact weather and climate conditions.
Improved climate services are emerging today as one of the most crucial tools to address and adapt to climate change and climate variability. The assumption that climatic and socio-economic conditions of the past are indicative of current and future conditions is no longer sufficient. It is imperative to further improve our understanding of climate and make better use of climate information to address societal needs, in a world characterized by population growth, changes in land use, urbanization, and challenges in ensuring food security and managing water resources and energy.
In order to enhance existing climate information and strengthen climate service capabilities, WMO Members and partner institutions from the United Nations launched the Global Framework for Climate Services. Disaster risk reduction is one of the initial priority areas for the provision of climate services, along with health, agriculture and food security, and water resources.
To achieve the goal of this ambitious initiative, a priority will be to support Least Developed Countries, Small Island Developing States and other vulnerable developing countries to strengthen national capabilities in climate services and early warning and inform climate policies and adaptation approaches through scientific information, free and open access to data and transfer of technology.
The link between climate change, extreme events and natural disasters has been recently highlighted by a Special Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, created and co sponsored by WMO and the United Nations Environment Programme. There is growing evidence from observations gathered by the WMO network of National Meteorological and Hydrological Services that climate change is contributing to increase extreme events like heavy precipitation and drought, as well as coastal high water related to sea level rise. There is growing evidence of the link with human activities, in particular increase in atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, which have reached record highs. Economic losses from weather- and climate-related disasters have increased, mostly due to demographic changes and growing exposure of people and economic assets.
World Meteorological Day 2013 is an occasion to highlight the work that National Meteorological and Hydrological Services accomplish 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to watch the weather and protect life and property. I am confident that this celebration will also contribute to underline the benefits of further investing in meteorological and hydrological infrastructures, the importance of global cooperation and the urgency to raise capacities for the provision of better weather and climate services for all those individuals, communities and nations who need them the most.
Weather, climate and disaster risk reduction are central to any national and international agenda that addresses the challenges of the 21st century, including sustainable development. World Meteorological Day 2013 is a unique occasion to reinforce this message.

World Meteorological organization 7 bis, avenue de la Paix – P.O. Box 2300 – CH 1211 Geneva 2 – Switzerland Tel.: +41 (0) 22 730 81 11 – Fax: +41 (0) 22 730 81 81
E-mail: wmo@

Friday, 15 March 2013

2013 Human Development Report - 'The Rise of the South: Human Progress in a Diverse World'

The rise of the South is radically reshaping the world of the 21st century, with developing nations driving economic growth, lifting hundreds of millions of people from poverty, and propelling billions more into a new global middle class, says the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) 2013 Human Development Report.

This phenomenon goes well beyond the so-called BRICs, middle income countries often represented by Brazil, Russia, India and China, the 2013 Report stresses. The Report shows that more than 40 developing countries have made greater human development gains in recent decades than would have been predicted. These achievements, it says, are largely attributable to sustained investment in education, health care and social programmes, and open engagement with an increasingly interconnected world.

The Rise of The South: Human Progress in a Diverse World

El ascenso del Sur: Progreso humano en un mundo diverso

L'essor du Sud: le progrès humain dans un monde diversifié

2013 Human Development Report examines the profound shift in global dynamics driven by the fast-rising new powers of the developing world.

Launched on March 14th, 2013 in Mexico City, Mexico, by UNDP Administrator Helen Clark, report author Khalid Malik, and hosted by Mexican President Enrique Nieto, the Human Development Report 2013 focuses on the unprecedented rise of the developing countries of the Global South.

The 2013 Human Development Report -- "The Rise of the South: Human Progress in a Diverse World" -- examines the profound shift in global dynamics driven by the fast-rising new powers of the developing world and its long-term implications for human development.

China has already overtaken Japan as the worlds second biggest economy while lifting hundreds of millions of its people out of poverty. India is reshaping its future with new entrepreneurial creativity and social policy innovation. Brazil is lifting its living standards through expanding international relationships and antipoverty programs that are emulated worldwide.

But the "Rise of the South" analyzed in the Report is a much larger phenomenon: Turkey, Mexico, Thailand, South Africa, Indonesia and many other developing nations are also becoming leading actors on the world stage.

The 2013 Human Development Report identifies more than 40 countries in the developing world that have done better than had been expected in human development terms in recent decades, with their progress accelerating markedly over the past ten years. The Report analyzes the causes and consequences of these countries achievements and the challenges that they face today and in the coming decades.

Each of these countries has its own unique history and has chosen its own distinct development pathway. Yet they share important characteristics and face many of the same challenges. They are also increasingly interconnected and interdependent. And people throughout the developing world are increasingly demanding to be heard, as they share ideas through new communications channels and seek greater accountability from governments and international institutions.

The 2013 Human Development Report identifies policies rooted in this new global reality that could promote greater progress throughout the world for decades to come. The Report calls for far better representation of the South in global governance systems and points to potential new sources of financing within the South for essential public goods. With fresh analytical insights and clear proposals for policy reforms, the Report helps chart a course for people in all regions to face shared human development challenges together, fairly and effectively.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

"Help keep our water clean for generations to come."

What can you do?

  • Find out more about water cooperation!
  • Organize events that help to communicate the key messages of the campaign (e.g. a conference, an exhibition or a workshop on water cooperation in your community) using our advocacy guide (pdf).
  • Promote the International Year of Water Cooperation and World Water Day: use the logo and other campaign materials.
  • Organize an activity that contributes to achieving the objectives of the campaign (e.g. training, development of research material, production of research work).
  • Share your success stories or case studies on water cooperation on the Year’s official website.
  • And above all, be innovative and share your own ideas!

Youth and Kids, Print Your Water Cooperation T-Shirts


 1 Click on the link of the t-shirt template you wish to print. The template will open in a
new window as an Adobe PDF.
2 Print out the image onto transfer paper (following the printing instructions given with
the transfer paper you purchased; remember that this image has already been

3 Once the image is printed on transfer paper, cut off excess part of transfer paper,
around the image, if desired. Any white part of transfer paper that is left around the
image will transfer to your shirt or other cloth you are using for the iron-on transfer.

4 Heat your iron according to the instructions for your transfer paper.

5 Place the printed iron-on transfer on your shirt or other article of clothing/cloth onto
which you are transferring the image. Be sure to follow the instructions provided with
your transfer paper for this procedure.

6 Iron as instructed by the directions given with your transfer paper. Do not over-iron, or
use your iron on a hotter setting than the directions call for.

7 Follow the instructions given with transfer paper to allow the shirt/clothing to cool and
when and how to peel off transfer paper backing. Follow all other instructions that
come with your transfer paper for handling and washing.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

International Year of Water Cooperation 2013

About UN-Water DPAC:

United Nations Office to Support the International Decade for Action 'Water for Life' 2005-2015/UN-Water Decade Programme on Advocacy and Communication (UNW-DPAC)

The latest news from the UN-Water Decade Programme on Advocacy and Communication (UNW-DPAC).

Video interviews with participants in the International Annual UN-Water Zaragoza Conference 2012/2013. Preparing for the 2013 International Year. Water Cooperation: Making it Happen! Zaragoza, 8-10 January 2013

Entrevistas a participantes en la Conferencia Internacional Anual de Zaragoza de ONU-Agua 2012/2013. Preparando el Año Internacional 2013. ¡Haciendo realidad la cooperación en materia de agua! 8-10 enero 2013

Interviews with participants in the 6th session of the Meeting of the Parties to the Water Convention. Rome, Italy, 28-30 November 2012

Water for Life´ UN-Water Best Practices Award

Interviews with case study presenters participating in the International UN-Water Conference: Water in the Green Economy in Practice: Towards Rio+20. 3-5 October 2011.

Interviews with participants in the International Conference 'Sustainable Water Management in Cities: Engaging stakeholders for effective change and action'. 13-17 December 2010. Zaragoza, Spain
21st Century, UNTV's series: Water

International Year of Water Cooperation 2013

The English World Water Day logo contains traditional patterns from the USA, Brazil, Mexico and China
The Spanish World Water Day logo contains traditional patterns from Kenya, The Republic of Ireland, Spain and South Korea
The French World Water Day logo contains traditional patterns from Australia, France, Ethiopia and Japan

The Swedish World Water Day logo contains traditional patterns from Sweden, Morocco, India and Australia
The Turkish World Water Day logo contains traditional patterns from Turkey, Scotland, Kenya and Saudi Arabia
The Italian World Water Day logo contains traditional patterns from Italy, Mexico, The USA and Japan

The German World Water Day logo contains traditional patterns from Germany, Brazil, Australia and China
The Japanese World Water Day logo contains traditional patterns from Japan, Germany, Sweden and The USA
The Portuguese World Water Day logo contains traditional patterns from Brazil, China, The Netherlands and Uzbekistan

The Arabic World Water Day logo contains traditional patterns from Saudi Arabia, Kenya, France and Mexico
The Chinese World Water Day logo contains traditional patterns from China, Italy, Nigeria and India
The Tamil World Water Day logo contains traditional patterns from India, China, Mexico and Germany

The Uzbek World Water Day logo contains traditional patterns from the Uzbekistan, Spain, India and Nigeria
The Greek World Water Day logo contains traditional patterns from the Greece, China, Morocco and USA
The Azerbaijani World Water Day logo contains traditional patterns from Azerbaijan, Sweden, the Czech Republic and East Africa

The Indonesian World Water Day logo contains traditional patterns from the Bahasa Indonesia, Mali, Scotland and Australia