By Lucilla Minelli
Water is critical for sustainable development and indispensable for human health and well-being. With this in mind, and to accelerate the implementation of internationally agreed goals relating to water, the UN General Assembly declared 2013 the International Year of Water Cooperation (IYWC). The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) was appointed by UN-Water to lead preparations for the IYWC, as well as for World Water Day on March 22, 2013, also dedicated to water cooperation. (UN-Water is the UN’s interagency coordination mechanism for all issues related to fresh water. Currently, it has representatives from 30 UN member states.)
“Water cooperation” refers to the peaceful management and mutually beneficial use of water resources among various players (e.g., governments, international organizations, academic institutions, businesses, and the public) and sectors (e.g., agriculture and industry) at local, national, regional, and international levels. Water cooperation encapsulates cultural, educational, and scientific elements, as well as religious, ethical, social, political, legal, institutional, and economic dimensions. Therefore, a multidisciplinary approach is essential in order to grasp an understanding of the many facets implied by the concept and blend them into one holistic vision.
In this article, I present the objectives for the IYWC, the messages we aim to publicize throughout the year, and some ideas for science centers and museums that are interested in being involved.