UNDP Around the world

2013: International Year of Water Cooperation

“Water, water everywhere, only if we share”

The UN General Assembly has declared 2013 the International Year of Water Cooperation. The objective is to highlight the benefits of cooperation on water management in a world where pressures on freshwater resources are intensifying.

Working on wide-ranging initiatives related to freshwater, UNDP and its partners are actively supporting the Year.

Water is a vital resource for life and knows no boundaries.  Access to clean water is the foundation for the fulfillment of basic human needs and for achieving most, if not all, of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The Year will serve to highlight successful examples of water cooperation and explore key issues including water education, water diplomacy, transboundary water management, financial cooperation, legal frameworks and the MDGs. 

Water cooperation is key to poverty eradication, social equity and gender equality

Inclusive and participatory governance of water and cooperation between different user groups can help to overcome inequity in access to water. Improving access to water for drinking, hygiene and productive uses contributes to poverty eradication and to improving living conditions and educational opportunities, especially for women and children.

Water cooperation creates economic benefits

Most economic activities depend on water, either directly or indirectly. Economic returns on investing in access to water and sanitation are typically 8:1 or higher. Cooperation can lead to more efficient and sustainable use of water resources, including through joint management plans creating mutual benefits and better living standards.

Water cooperation prevents conflicts and builds peace

Access to water can be a source of a conflict, but it is also a tool for crisis prevention and peace building. Cooperation on such a practical and vital issue as water management can help overcome cultural, political and social tensions, and can build trust between different groups, regions or states.

UNDP’s work around the world includes facilitating access to clean water and enhancing national and transboundary cooperation on water resources management, thus contributing to the achievement of the MDGs and other international targets.

Our stories

  • 3 continents, 3 lakes in danger
    Mar 22, 2017

    There is no shortage of water on the planet. More than two-thirds of the earth’s surface is covered in the stuff. But 97 percent of this is salty ocean water. The remaining freshwater is mostly found in the form of ice, leaving precious little available for human use.

  • A new model of water management in El Salvador
    Aug 27, 2015

    A water project in El Salvador aims for water systems to be managed under a system of governance and coordination, ensuring the sustainability and integrity in resource management.

  • A new window of hope in Sudan
    Oct 19, 2015

    Communities in Sudan are working to make their livelihoods more sustainable, and empowering women to help their communities become less vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

  • Afghanistan: Women gain access to clean water
    May 29, 2014

    UNDP is helping women participate in decisions affecting their communities and many are reaping the benefits with cleaner water.

  • As rivers dry up, Swaziland builds dams to harvest water
    Oct 7, 2015

    In Swaziland, a project has created a local water development committee and built sand dams and rainwater harvesting systems to increase access to water.