After 10 years, we're finally at the end of the UN Decade for Water 2005-2015.
Since 2005, we have been managing complexity on a global scale. Interactions have increased exponentially thanks to social media and the Internet; but we can't help but regret the missed opportunities. There were many. And now we have a full stop.
Our goal during the Water for Life Decade was to promote efforts to fulfill international commitments in the water sphere by 2015. We've tried to raise the profile of water in the global agenda, and to focus the world's attention on the groundbreaking, lifesaving, empowering work done by those implementing water programs and projects. We've tried to be a bridge, to further cooperation between governments and other stakeholders, between nations and diverse communities, between economic interests and the needs of ecosystems and the poor. And we've promoted efforts to ensure the participation of women in water and sanitation.
For almost as long as we can remember, 2015 has been considered a critical year for the international water and sanitation agenda. Not least because we anticipated – and it has come to pass – that the General Assembly has agreed the Sustainable Development Goals in its 70th session.
The decade has been one of progress and many of you have contributed. The activities of the Office in support of the water decade of the knowledge hub, best practice programmme, communications, are in part being integrated in its work by the UN-Water technical advisory unit. We are especially proud of the activities of the civil society and of the UN-Water for Life Award winners. The Water for Life logo users and the partnerships which the decade has helped boost and create will respond to the challenge of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda of the need to be transformative and to bring about change. A call for Business "unusal". The Canadian Water for Life Partnership, the "Cultivating Water for Life" global partnership on social processes in water management, the work of the Women for Water Partnership to cite a few will take the torch and continue with the spirit which has guided the Office´s actions.
During December the United Nations Office to Support the International Decade for Action "Water for Life" 2005-2015 has been celebrating the achievements during the decade and participating in different events to celebrate achievements of the water decade and the way forward. We have been presenting two publications:
10-Year Story: The "Water for Life" Decade and Beyond, edited by the Office
The latest edition of Water Monographies, with a focus on Water and Sustainable Development, of which the Office is a co-editor.
We have prepared a video of the Ten Year Story publication
In addition to this, the Water Decade is concluding with a slew of awards to the Office as well as feedback from the journalist groups supported through the media programme and from those who have engaged in the Office work. The Office has been honoured with the iAgua award for 2015, the second consecutive time the Office has taken this prestigious prize in Spanish speaking countries, on December 17. The Office has also been honoured with the Aragonia Prize on December 19 in Zaragoza.
In late November we reached out to the journalists who have been supported in their work in the water sector during the Decade. 86% of water journalists we worked with said the Office had made a 'significant' difference to their work with regards to gathering information and contacts for stories. While the media programme has been a work in progress throughout the Decade, many journalists sent personal messages urging the United Nations to keep "the network alive through information, discussions etc", and imploring the function to not "cut the line. Continuously link up and working with journalists which has been part of the programme could be helpful."
We have received more than a 100 responses to the survey analysis of the Office – to gather the expert view of the role of the Office in the MDG period. All but 3 respondents have provided positive feedback. The Office website has proved a vital water hub and resource according to the top minds in the field. According to a survey of the Decade's Office web products, the thematic pages (80%), regional focus (92%), online resources (85%), milestones (92%) and reports on progress (93%) have been considered specially useful. The Office "Facilitated access to relevant knowledge and activities in the UN" (75%), "Provided a platform for participatory consultation processes with major partners and practitioners" (84%), "Involved meaningful processes and activities" (75%), "Encouraged open and reflective dialogue, inclusive and respectful of diversity" (83%).
"The inclusiveness and level of engagement is unique in UN conferences. True acknowledgement of the different stakeholders."
Warm thanks to all of you who helped make the Decade one of progress in the water sector. I wish you and yours a happy and prosperous years, continuing the vital work in the service of sustainable development.
With our best wishes.
The Team at the United Nations Office to Support the International Decade for Action "Water for Life" 2005-2015