Water cooperation underpins the core of Integrated water Resources Management principles – downstream-upstream user cooperation, cooperation between multi-sector actors in water, cooperation between water suppliers and water users, cooperation with government with respect to pollution control, etc. Even in the use of the waters of small streams or rivulets all micro riparians need to cooperate in order to avoid conflict.
The Komadugu-Yobe Basin exemplifies what is possible if all riparians in a basin cooperate. The flooding in the downstream part of R. Benue, downstream of Lagdo Dam, last year shows what happens when there are no meaningful cooperation in the management and utilization of the waters of an international drainage basin.
On 27 August 2012 at Stockholm A three-hour seminar to officially launch the UN International Year of Water Cooperation and World Water Day 2013 took place. It was indicated that all were warmly invited to attend! Furthermore, it was noted that The Netherlands will host the global event for World Water Day in 2013.
In December 2010, the United Nations General Assembly declared the year 2013 as the United Nations International Year of Water Cooperation following a proposal submitted by a group of countries, initiated by Tajikistan. Members of UN-Water agreed that World Water Day on 22 March 2013 should also be dedicated to the same theme. In August 2011, UN-WATER officially appointed UNESCO to lead preparations for both the International Year of Water Cooperation and World Water Day in 2013, in cooperation with UNECE and with the support of UNDESA, UNW-DPC and UNW-DPAC.
Water cooperation is multi-dimensional in nature and encapsulates cultural, educational and scientific factors, as well as religious, ethical, social, political, legal, institutional and economic dimensions. 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. Moreover, for water cooperation to be successful and sustainable, it requires a common understanding of the needs and challenges surrounding the issue of water. As a result, 2013 being the International Year and World Water Day (22 March 2013) will focus predominantly on attempting to build a consensus around the adequate responses to such issues.
World Water Day 2013 and the International Year of Water Cooperation are great opportunities for the different organizations active in the water sector to promote actions at all levels on subjects related to water cooperation. It calls for a major effort to disseminate the key messages resulting from this global exercise and to involve stakeholders coming from different backgrounds and contexts.