At the initiative of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, a special session on water and disasters is to be held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on 6 March 2013. Among the key speakers is HRH Willem-Alexander, the Prince of Orange, who has chaired the Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation (UNSGAB) since 2006.
This will be one of the Prince’s last acts as UNSGAB chair before he resigns from the role and other official positions to concentrate on his duties as King of the Netherlands beginning 30 April 2013. One hopes that, despite the Prince’s departure, a strong Dutch presence will continue on the UNSGAB and other water-related fora, in keeping with the renowned tradition of the Netherlands in all matters related to water.
In line with this tradition, and proud of its Dutch origins despite being fully global in its outlook, The Hague Institute for Global Justice has identified water management and the fair distribution of water as an issue central to its mandate. The institute focuses its efforts on conflict resolution and legal issues related to water, joining forces with other Dutch partners with complementary expertise to cover the broad range of water diplomacy issues.
Partners include the Netherlands Institute of International Relations Clingendael, Water Governance Centre, UNESCO-IHE and the University for Peace. This emerging consortium aspires to become a knowledge hub for water diplomacy, governance and law, and to contribute to conflict prevention and conflict resolution related to intrastate and transboundary water management.
One of the first projects of the consortium concerns Yemen, through a study The Hague Institute conceptualized in response to a request from the Dutch Embassy in that country. The initiative focuses on the formal and informal political economy of groundwater management and will produce a tailor-made plan for strengthening the legal framework for water-related conflict prevention and supporting the country in achieving the water and sanitation targets under the Millennium Development Goals. This is one of The Hague Institute’s and its partners’ contributions to the International Year of Water Cooperation, due to be celebrated in The Hague on 22 March 2013, World Water Day.