United Nations International Year of Water Cooperation
New Year is always an exciting time, but we’re particularly excited about 2013: it’s been declared United Nations International Year of Water Cooperation.
UN-Water has called on UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) to lead the year’s activities. UNESCO certainly understands the importance of the year’s work; earlier this year they predicted that by 2020 water shortage will be a serious problem for many parts of the planet.
If forecast fresh water shortfall occurs, and population growth estimates are correct, we’ll need to feed nine billion people (two billion more than today) by 2050 with much less fresh water than we have availabletoday.
With an estimated 1 billion people already without reliable access to basic water supplies, 2 billion without appropriate sanitation, and 80% of diseases in the developing world due to water contamination, it’s no wonder management of shrinking freshwater supplies in the face of massive population growth is one of the greatest issues facing us in the 21st century.
Throughout 2013, UNESCO plan to highlight the history of successful water cooperation initiatives, as well as identifying burning issues on water. It also will provide opportunities to capitalise on the momentum created at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), and formulate new objectives towards developing water resources that are truly sustainable.
We look forward to bringing you more news from the campaign through 2013. To kick it off, take a look at Ceres’ online Sustainability Hub which lists ways for schools to get involved in International Year of Water Cooperation, and bookmark the UN’s official siteor subscribe to their newsletter.