Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, Serigne Mbaye Thiam, Minister of Water and Sanitation of Senegal, Brune Poirson, Secretary of State to the Minister of State for Ecological and Solidarity Transition of France, will open the first UNESCO International Conference on Water on Monday, 13 May at 9:30 am at UNESCO Headquarters. This two-day conference will bring together ministers from some 40 countries, experts, researchers, representatives of civil society, the private sector and international organizations.
Because "Access to water is not only a matter of development. Above all, it is a fundamental right and an instrument of peace and security in the world", as the Director-General points out, it is essential to take a crosscutting approach involving all sectors of society. The objective of this conference will be to present innovative solutions to problems related to the governance and management of this fragile resource. The role of water in international cooperation will be at the heart of the themes discussed.
Building on UNESCO's experience in the field of science, culture, education and communication, the conference will feature a high-level panel on water, a session on the links between energy and water in Africa and thematic panels on topics as diverse as water and technological innovation, water ethics, water and heritage and water and gender.
During the final plenary session, Princess Sumaya of Jordan, UNESCO's Special Envoy for Science and Peace, will present UNESCO's intentions to promote a paradigm shift: water is the driving force for peace and sustainable development.
For more than 40 years, UNESCO's International Hydrological Programme (IHP) has been the only intergovernmental United Nations programme entirely dedicated to water resources management and capacity building in this crucial area.