of the seminar on “Coping with Water Scarcity” organized by UN-Water
Wednesday 23 August 2006, during the World Water Week in Stockholm,
Sweden, 20-26 August 2006
UN-Water is the coordinating mechanism of the UN agencies, programmes
and funds that play a significant role in tackling global water
concerns. Through UN-Water, and in collaboration with major non-UN
partners, they cooperate in advancing progress towards the water-related
goals of the Decade Water for Life and of the Millennium Declaration.
Annually, UN-Water hosts a seminar in Stockholm focusing on strategic
issues it has identified as priority for joint action. The 2006
event addressed water scarcity, the point at which the aggregate
impact of all users impinges on the supply or quality of water under
prevailing institutional arrangements to the extent that the demand
by all sectors, including the environment, cannot be fully satisfied.
Of direct relevance to the Millenium Development Goal of ensuring
environmental sustainability, coping with water scarcity is viewed
as one of the main challenges of the XXIst Century. Water scarcity
affects all social and economic sectors and threatens the sustainability
of the natural resources base. Addressing this issue calls for an
inter-sectoral and multidisciplinary approach that maximises economic
and social welfare without compromising the sustainability of vital
ecosystems. Through the Water Scarcity Thematic Initiative, UN-Water
agencies and their partners plan to join forces to work towards
an effective and coherent response to the challenge of water scarcity.
The seminar introduced the work of UN-Water and the Water Scarcity
Thematic Initiative. Case studies illustrated the type of actions
UN-Water agencies carry out with their partners, and successes and
limitations of their action. It served as an opportunity to discuss
the strategic role of UN-Water in assisting countries in their efforts
towards the achieving the Millenium Development Goals, investigate
the possibilities for enhancing its effectiveness and impact and
explore possibilities for effective partnership.