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    Following a decision at the 15th session of the The International Hydrological Programme (IHP) and a subsequent meeting of international experts in December 2002, UNESCO supported the establishment of a Global Network on Water Resources Management in Arid and Semi-arid Zones by bringing together an international group of experts to develop the concept, objectives, and an outline of the Network. The first meeting in Paris, in April 2003, was attended by 24 participants from 17 countries and representing water authorities and institutions related to arid zones, UNESCO, FAO, WMO, SAHRA, IAEA, Sahara and Sahel Observatory (OSS), International Association of Hydrogeologists (IAH), the European Space Agency (ESA), Programme SudMed and L'Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD).

    In working groups and plenary sessions, the participants discussed concerns and problems and arrived at a draft implementation plan that: outlines the organizational structure, membership, links with other organizations and stakeholders; identifies objectives; and sets a timetable for work.

    In the Paris Declaration that resulted from this intensive and interactive discussion, the participants agreed to the following:

    * Underline the urgent need for increased regional and international cooperation contributing to sustainable development of arid and semi-arid zones, by establishing G-WADI;
    * Declare their firm intention to contribute to the establishment of G-WADI including its secretariat and nodes and to take active part in realizing its objectives and activities annexed to this declaration;
    * Commit themselves to generate initiatives to achieve national and international support for the development and sustainability of G-WADI, whenever appropriate;
    * Call upon the IHP secretariat, UNESCO, related centers, and relevant regional and international centers to further develop this initiative, in close cooperation with partner institutions in the world;
    * Request the IHP Bureau to recommend to the IHP Council to accept and endorse this initiative as one of the capacity building activities under the IHP-V1 and beyond;
    * Request the UNESCO Secretariat to call upon national, international governmental organizations, concerned NGOs (FAO, IAWEA and WMO and relevant international conventions) and donors (GEF, World Bank, EU) to support this initiative.

    Globally, arid and semi-arid areas face the greatest pressures to deliver and manage freshwater resources. It has been estimated that by the 1990s 40% of the world’s population were suffering from serious water shortages and this is set to increase, with two-thirds of the population living under water stress by 2025. Challenges facing water managers in these areas include population growth, food security, salinity increases and pollution from various sources. Superimposed on these pressures, climate change is expected to increase water scarcity and the frequency of floods and droughts in many arid and semi-arid areas. Accurately assessing and managing the available and renewable water resources is more difficult in semi-arid regions, compared with water-rich countries; the science base is limited, data are scarce and humid zone experience is inappropriate.

    The strategic objective of the G-WADI Network is to strengthen the global capacity to manage the water resources of arid and semi-arid areas. Its primary aim is to build an effective global community through integration of selected existing material from networks, centres, organizations and individuals. Moreover it seeks to empower local initiatives, for example by links with NGOs. The Network promotes international and regional cooperation in these areas.

    While core funding has been provided by UNESCO, and substantial support in kind has been provided by individuals, institutions and governments, this work was facilitated and enhanced by grants from DfID, UK through HE the Ambassador to UNESCO, during 2005-7.

    _Source: Water and Development Information for Arid Lands- A Global Network (G-WADI) Website, June 28, 2010._

    Project Components:

    G-WADI's mission is to strengthen the capacity to manage the water resources of arid and semi-arid areas around the globe through a network of international and regional cooperation.

    Expected Outputs:

    G-WADI aims to strengthen the global capacity to manage the water resources of arid and semi-arid areas. Its primary goal is to build an effective global community through integration of selected existing materials from networks, centers, organizations, and individuals who become members of G-WADI. The network promotes international and regional cooperation in the arid and semi-arid areas.

    Specific objectives include:
    * Improved understanding of the special characteristics of hydrological systems and water management needs in arid areas;
    * Capacity building of individuals and institutions, matching supply with need;
    * Broad dissemination of understanding of water in arid zones to the user community and the public;
    * Sharing data and exchanging experience to support research and sound water management;
    * Raising awareness of advanced technologies for data provision, data assimilation, and system analysis;
    * Promoting integrated basin management and the use of appropriate decision support tools.

    Project Status:
    Under implementation
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