text only version
World Water Day 2009
campaign materials
 World Water Day 2009: Click to View More Images from the World Water Day CeremonyLéna Salamé, Project Coordinator for the UNESCO programme From Potential Conflict to Co-operation potential (PCCP), coordinated the World Water Day event at the World Water Forum on behalf of the UN-Water Task Force on Transboundary Waters. UN-Water asked her for her impressions of the event.

“From the start, we were worried that we would have a low turn-out. 8:30 Sunday morning on the Forum’s last day wasn’t exactly the friendliest of time slots. But in the end, the event was very well-attended, which really shows the level interest in the issue.”

“We started the event with a screening of One Water, an award-winning documentary by Ali Habashi, who was in the audience. He prepared an edited version of his feature length film for our event.”

World Water Day 2009: Click to View More Images from the World Water Day Ceremony“I strongly urge everyone to see One Water. It’s very powerful. Transboundary water management can sometimes seem very distant from our everyday lives. It involves international laws and conventions that can be quite complex and high-level political negotiations that seldom get any media attention. Mr Habashi’s film, which contains some truly unforgettable footage, definitely helped make the issue of transboundary water management real and urgent for everyone in the hall.”

“And the moderators picked up on this sense of urgency. During the panel discussion and question period that followed the film, they did an excellent job of keeping the panelists focused on how the UN, intergovernmental political processes and international legal mechanisms could contribute to real progress on the ground.

World Water Day 2009: Click to View More Images from the World Water Day Ceremony“The audience was also clearly focused on how governments could be made more responsive to urgent water management issues. They questioned the panelists on what the United Nations and other intergovernmental organizations could do to ensure that countries recognize and comply with international water agreements. Many wanted to know more about existing international water conventions and about dispute resolutions mechanisms.”

“A lot of people have become frustrated about high-level conferences and summits that produce declarations that are not either concrete enough or not followed up with actions. But we can’t afford to become cynical. The fact is that it’s going to take a lot of little steps to reach big goals. World Water Day events, the World Water Forum and political processes that lead to the ministerial statements and declarations may not satisfy everyone, but by raising public awareness, they slowly help build the political will within governments that is required to translate commitments into action.”

Information about One Water is available from the following web site:

If you are interested in organizing or attending a screening of the short version of the film, visit

related links
Photo Gallery: World Water Day at the World Water Forum
One Water
Message of Mr Koïchiro Matsuura, Director-General of UNESCO
Arabic (PDF 88 KB)
Chinese (PDF 216 KB)
English (PDF 160 KB)
French (PDF 80 KB)
Russian (PDF 200 KB)
Spanish (PDF 168 KB)
Message from Dr. Ahmed Djoghlaf, Executive Secretary for the Convention on Biological Diversity
(PDF 156 KB)
UNICEF World Water Day press release
UNDP World Water Day message
World Water Day in the UNECE region
World Water Day in the UNESCAP region
IMWI World Water Day messages
Public Services International Water Day statement
(PDF 116 KB)
related links

Programme for the World Water Day event at the 5th World Water Forum
(PDF 344 KB)