GWP Chair Dr Letitia A Obeng was a speaker at the meeting on 21 June 2012 at Rio+20, which was opened by H.E. Excellency Mr. Emomali Rahmon, the President of Tajikistan and H.E. Jànos Àdor, the President of Hungary. H.E. Mr. Rahmon also gave a keynote. UN-Water facilitated the event and statements were made by high level participants from Finland, UNDP, The World Bank, FAO,UNESCO, and UNECE.
“Tajikistan has initiated the Year of Water Cooperation to put focus on its importance for sustainable development. Our country has undertaken the necessary measures for sustainable use of this precious resource using integrated water resources management at local, national and international level to create a more holistic approach among different sectors”, the President of Tajikistan said in his opening speech, explaining the Year of Water Cooperation in 2013 to be excellent for demonstrating “political will to address the current water challenges and build bridges”.
The President of Hungary said his country is willing to share their experiences on how to work with transboundary water resources management, educational programmes in water on how to think local but act global, and develop relevant water policies and laws.
GWP Chair Dr Letitia A Obeng complimented the Presidents of Tajikistan and Hungary for demonstrating real leadership for water and said that, “Cooperation on water management is needed at all levels, among sectors, among stakeholders and among countries.” Dr Obeng suggested “that cooperation among sectors is in some ways a bigger challenge than getting stakeholders from different societal groups to come together in dialogue. As the preparatory conference last year stated, water is a cross-cutting issue and synergies should not be lost due to narrow sectoral approaches. The conference went on to recommend ‘that its conclusions should be communicated to decision-makers and outside the water domain with a view to achieving broad endorsement and consensus on a common aim that requires an integrated and well coordinated approach. Decisions in other sectors and those related to development, growth,security and livelihoods, including responses to climate change, food and energy challenges and disaster management, need to incorproate water as an integral component.’”
The event was an important part of the preparation for the International Year of Water Cooperation 2013, which was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly resolution 65/154.
Assuring the meeting that GWP and its Partners will be active contributors to the Year of Water Cooperation, Dr Obeng finished by stating that, “We need new thinking and new actions and we need them yesterday! The time is now for leaders to help the world find better ways forward. That is why it is so encouraging to see leaders like you, Excellencies, Presidents of Hungary and Tajikistan, demonstrating ownership of this agenda and setting an example for those leaders who have yet to own this issue. The world would be in a different situation, if more high level decision-makers followed your example.”
Read more about the event.