The Netherlands is host country for the international celebration of World Water Day (WWD) on 22 March 2013. The event this year highlights water cooperation, in keeping with 2013 being the UN International Year of Water Cooperation.

On World Water Day, high-level representatives of the United Nations, civil society organisations, government and business will come to The Hague to underline and discuss the importance of water cooperation for peace and sustainable development.

WWD is organised by UNESCO (on behalf of UN Water), the Dutch government and other organisations from the Netherlands and abroad.

Wednesday 20 March: Walking for water
Each year, in the margins of World Water Day, Dutch non-governmental organisations Aqua for All, Simavi, AMREF, ZOA and Akvo, organise the fundraising event Walking for Water.

Over 25.000 primary school children walk six kilometres carrying backpacks containing six litres of water, to experience what it is like to carry water over long distances –as many of their peers in other parts of the world do daily.

This year the Dutch ngo's will emphasize on promoting the walkathon among children around the world. Schools from Luxembourg, Hungary and England have already announced their participation.

Thursday 21 March: multi-stakeholder dialogue
Preluding the celebration is a multi-stakeholder dialogue on 22 March, named 'Wings for water'. Leaders from governments, UN, businesses, civil societies, and faith-based and youth organisations, will debate the issues of 'water, equity and sustainable development' and 'water and inclusive finance'.

These roundtable discussions will result in a wake-up call for water.

Friday 22 March: high level forum
Keynote speeches by leaders from the international water community will start the high level forum on water cooperation, followed four thematic (break-out) sessions.

The four themes of the se sessions are:
• Water cooperation is key to poverty eradication, social equity and gender equality.
• Water cooperation creates economic benefits.
• Water cooperation helps preserve water resources and protects the environment.
• Water cooperation builds peace.

See full programme: international conference (on invitation only

Talks on new post-2015 water targets
Additionally talks will take place on the post-2015 water targets. The United Nations are working on a proposal for new global water and sanitation targets, following the deadline of the current Millennium Development Goal for water.

The latest version of the proposal aims at a full access to proper drinking water and good sanitation for all people in 2040. The UN General Assembly is to discuss this proposal in September.
(also read: UN consultation in The Hague goes for fully fledged new global water development goal: access for all people in 2040, December 13, 2012)

Worldwide consultations
On WWD the outcomes will be presented of the global UN consultation 'The World We Want'. Last year the UN started a website for all global citizens to build a collective vision on a new development agenda. The websites gives everybody the opportunity to give ideas and express aspirations on 11 theme's, including water.

For the special occasion of the WWD celebration the Dutch-based platform on globalization and development, The Broker, started an online consultation on the
Post-2015 development agenda amongst its network of international experts amongst governments, international institutions, NGOs, multinationals and universities.

The results of these consultations will be used as input for the stakeholder dialogue and the high level forum.

Paramount importance of groundwater
At the outset of the celebration of WWD2013, UNESCO will organize the 5th Regional Consultation on Groundwater Governance in The Hague from 19 to 21 March 2013.

This project is to raise awareness for the paramount importance of groundwater resources and their sustainable management in averting the impending water crisis.

Read more on Water Water Days in previous years:

Read more on Water Cooperation 2013:

Follow this website for more news on the celebration of World Water Day 2013 in The Hague!

More information

UN Water - official World water day 2013 website

The World We Want 2015 - e-discussion on Environmental Sustainability

Walking for water - the Netherlands

World walks for water - international

The Broker - Prioritsing water after 2015

Groundwater Governance - A Global Framework for Action (2011-2014)