On 25 March, in Stockholm, Sweden, the Director-General signed an agreement between UNESCO, Sweden and the Swedish International Water Institute on the creation of the International Centre for Water Cooperation in Sweden as a Category 2 Centre, under UNESCO auspices.
The agreement was signed with Ms Léna Ek, Minister for the Environment and Mr Torgny Holmgren, Executive Director of the Swedish International Water Institute.
During the ceremony, Irina Bokova reminded all present that she had visited Stockholm in September, 2013, to participate in World Water Week –a key event during the International Year of Water Cooperation that UNESCO led on behalf of UN-Water.
“I know the depth of Sweden’s commitment to fostering water cooperation and the International Centre for Water Cooperation embodies this commitment.”
The Director-General highlighted the core message of the International Year of Water Cooperation – to advance cooperation around water, for water and through water, across borders, at every level.
“In a world where 276 trans-boundary lakes and river basins cover nearly half the land surface and account for 60 percent of global freshwater flow -- cooperation is not a matter of choice, it is an imperative,” she said.
The Director-General thanked the Government of Sweden and the Swedish International Water Institute for the creation of the new International Centre, which will support UNESCO’s objectives, by developing knowledge for cooperation in the sustainable management of trans-boundary waters, and by building capacities through research and training.
The new Centre will play a vital role in supporting UNESCO’s work through the PCCP programme -- Potential Conflict to Cooperation Potential – as well as the related work of the International Hydrological Programme and the World Water Assessment Programme, cooperating also with UNESCO’s work on trans-boundary issues through ISARM -- Internationally Shared Aquifer Management.