Next year will have a special focus on groundwater: a number of global groundwater-events will be organised and products developed. Currently, World Water Development Report dedicated to groundwater is under development, to be launched on World Water Day, during the World Water Forum in Dakar, Senegal. Also at the WWF, a groundwater management Catalogue will be introduced during a special session. Outcomes of these and other events will be used as input for the closing event of the year: a high-level Groundwater Summit in December 2022 at UNESCO.
Why this joint global effort?
Groundwater is a major water-supply source, while also sustaining aquatic ecosystems and maintaining baseflow in ri vers, and being a critical storage element for climate-change adaptation. Despite these impressive facts, groundwater (being invisible) is ‘out of mind’ for most people. At the same time, water scarcity is increasing, already affects about 2.7 billion people around the world for at least one month per year. As surface water availability decreases (due to human activities and climate change), reliance- and pressure on groundwater is growing. Yet we still do not know sufficient about the state of groundwater resources globally and we do not manage aquifers well enough.
World Water Day
World Water Day will be celebrated all over the world on 22nd of March. The UN-Water Task Force (led by UNESCO and IGRAC) is currently preparing this event. The central celebration of the WWD will be at the World Water Forum in Dakar.
At World Water Forum 9
The 9th World Water Forum (WWF) will be held in Dakar, Senegal. At the Forum, the World Water Development Report (WWDR) 2022 will be launched as a part of central WWD celebration. The report will present a state and trends of groundwater resources globally. It will also enlighten the role that groundwater has in variety of societal and environmental issues: from wetlands to food production, from sanitation to climate change.
Due to diversity and complexity of issues, it is often difficult to recognize a role of groundwater and adequately incorporate it in a decision-making process. Understanding complementarities with other issues and using groundwater experience gained elsewhere is not easy either. Therefore, we are also developing a catalogue of groundwater management and governance tools, measures and instruments. The catalogue will enable policy makers to explore suitable solutions for complex groundwater issues, based on case studies and references. The Catalogue will be introduced at the special Groundwater Session dedicated to strengthening interface science-policy-practice.
During the Forum, a high-level panel will be organised as well, discussing the multiple role of groundwater (provisional, supporting, regulatory, cultural, etc.) as a preparation for the Groundwater Summit.
The Groundwater Summit will be about SDG6 Global Acceleration Framework implementation, focused on groundwater. The focus will be on Collaboration across boundaries and sectors. The participants will be high-level representatives of Member States and International Organisations. The Summit will be a 2-day event in December 2022, taking place at UNESCO in Paris, France.
Outcomes from various prominent events during a groundwater year (such as ISARM2021, World Water Week, Water for Sustainable Development and IAH Congress), will be used as an input to the Summit, unifying the international community’s efforts towards achievement of SDGs and jointly preparing for the UN Water Conference 2023.