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Message of Mr Koïchiro Matsuura, Director-General of UNESCO, on the occasion of World Water Day on transboundary waters, Istanbul, Turkey, 22 March 2009

photo of K. Matsuura

"We have moved beyond the need for declarations and statements. The priority now is for action. We must mobilize the necessary political commitment, human capacities and goodwill to ensure that forecasts of looming water crises do not become true. Water has been, can be and must be a connecter, not a divider."

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The Director-General of UNESCO addresses the Summit of Nobel Peace laureates on the "Right to Water as a Human Right", Paris, France, 11 December 2008

photo of K. Matsuura

"[…] We must work together. Let me therefore appeal to all those present here today, who have done so much to build peace around the world, to help raise global awareness of the need to use this valuable resource more efficiently. Let me also call on your support in mobilizing governments and engaging them in their duty to ensure equitable access to water, especially among the most marginalized and vulnerable sections of society.

Securing the right to water is our shared responsibility. We will need the goodwill and energy of all to succeed."

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Address by Mr Koïchiro Matsuura, Director-General of UNESCO, on the occasion of the conference on "Water for Peace – Peace for Water : Lessons from the Past and Current Challenges", UNESCO, 13 November 2008

photo of J. Chirac & K. Matsuura

© UNESCO/M. Ravassard

"Today, about half of the world's population depends on water resources coming from the Earth's 263 listed transboundary basins, and more than 2 billion people throughout the world depend on the 274 transboundary aquifers thus far identified. This means that more than 90% of the world's population lives in countries which share their water resources with other countries.

The question of sharing water is therefore crucial. However, although the total quantity of water on Earth remains unchanged, the number of users is increasing dramatically, which reduces proportionately the quantity available per person. Furthermore, the competition for transboundary water resources, source of tension and potential conflict, is likely to intensify in the years ahead."

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Address by Mr Koïchiro Matsuura, Director-General of UNESCO, at the closing session of the plenary on "Water for Peace", Third World Water Forum, Shiga, Japan, 21 March 2003

photo of K. Matsuura

© UNESCO/M. Ravassard

"[…] Even when they are shared between several stakeholders, rivers and aquifers are by no means a source of inevitable conflict. On the contrary, past experience has shown that water can be a catalyst for peace, and there is every reason to believe that they can be such a catalyst in the future."

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For more information about the Third World Water Forum visit the official website

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