From 21-26 March 2022, the water world met in Diamniadio (Dakar), Senegal, for the 9th World Water Forum. With the pivot event of World Water Day 2022, with the theme ‘Groundwater: Making the Invisible Visible’, taking place at this forum, groundwater played a bigger role than ever. These efforts in Senegal will all lead to a greater succes at the UN-Water Summit on Groundwater.
Launch of World Water Development Report
On the first conference day, UNESCO WWAP launched the 2022 edition of the United Nations World Water Development Report, which follows the same theme as the world water day. The report describes the challenges and opportunities associated with the development, management and governance of groundwater across the world. After the official launch at the Dakar Arena, the full report was made available for download in English and French, while the executive summary is even available English, French, Spanish, Russian, Arabic, Italian, Korean, Hindi, Chinese, German and Portuguese.
Celebration of World Water Day 2022
The 22nd of March marked the second day of the forum, but also the annual celebration of the World Water Day. The pivot event of the World Water Day took place in the main auditorium of the CICAD conference centre and attracted a big audience. After opening remarks by UNESCO-IHP Secretary Abou Amani and the Minister of Water and Sanitation Senegal, several high-level statements were given, both on-site and on video. Subsequently, IGRAC moderated an expert panel about taking stock and future challenges, with representatives of AMCOW, UNECE, IWMI and the government of Tunisia. The World Water Day celebration was naturally followed up by a high-level panel, facilitated by UNESCO and UN-Water.
Groundwater catalogue for informed policy development and management interventions
The last World Water Day session with IGRAC participation was about the Groundwater Catalogue. This session, moderated and introduced by IGRAC, introduced the pilot version of the catalogue and had the objective to receive useful feedback to further improve it. The catalogue should enable policy and decision-makers to better explore suitable solutions for complex groundwater issues, based on factsheets, case studies and references. The forum provided an opportunity to meet these policy and decision-makers, and discuss which requirements the catalogue should meet to support them. In addition, the session hosted a panel discussion with valuable interventions. The Groundwater Summit will also an include a session on science-policy-practice in which the groundwater catalogue will play a central role.
Promoting sustainable development by improving knowledge and governance of transboundary groundwater resources
On Wednesday, UNESCO-IHP and UNECE organized a session on transboundary aquifers. This session had the goal to present global initiatives and concrete examples of cooperation over groundwater resources of transboundary aquifers contributing to foster cooperation and preventing conflicts. The outcomes on this TBA session will form the foundation for the transboundary aquifers session at the summit.