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 work 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 (click here to see the declaration):
- 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.