Water routes know no boundaries; they run the earth, water the land, cool the people; as they move on the surface of the earth or underneath they join men's destiny, as they always have.
These transboundary waters are the theme for 2009 World Water Day, "Shared Water - Shared Opportunities". The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) leads the activities of the World Water Day 2009 nurturing the opportunities for cooperation in transboundary water management.
The UN have recorded that the world’s 263 transboundary lake and river basins include the territory of 145 countries and cover nearly half of the Earth’s land surface. In the Mediterranean region as much as 80% of water resources are shared between two or more countries, whereas in the Balkan region this rate rises up to 90%. In the case of Greece 25% of the water resources of the country comes from the transboundary waters of the large rivers of Epirus, Macedonia and Thrace, as Aoos, Axios, Strymonas, Nestos and Evros, and the transboundary lakes of Prespa and Doirani. Also a recent research carried out by UNESCO Chair/International Network of Water-Environment Centres for the Balkans (INWEB) reveals the major importance of transboundary aquifers in the region.
The importance of transboundary waters climaxes as globaly we face climate change and drought, amongst other environmental problems. The possibility that conflicts will arise between countries over the use of water is a real threat to our planet. The only way to avoid this is cooperation. According to UN data over the last 60 years there have been more than 200 international water agreements and only (!) 37 cases of reported violence between states over water.
And while the 5th World Water Forum takes place these days in Istanbul (16 to 22 March 2009) aiming to put the issues of water management in the international agenda, managing a step towards global collaboration, in Greece one can follow these events:
- International workshop on "New technologies in water management" Friday 20 March, by the Balkan Environment Center. The workshop will take place in «NOISIS», at the 6th km Thessaloniki - Thermi
- Symbolic demonstration in Syntagma Square, Athens, Sunday 22 March at 12.00, organised by NGOs. http://www.waterforlife.gr/
- «Traditional Fishing» in Lake Kerkini, 21-22 March at Megalochori.
- Tennis Tournament for children by Serres Tennis Club, 22-23 March
- and because access to safe drinking water and sanitation is still a burning issue, let us not forget tomorrow's demonstration for Asopos, 21 March, at 11 am, Schimatari tolls. To put an end to the continuing environmental crime in Boeotia and Attica.