International Year of Freshwater


Emblem of the International Year of FreshwaterThe United Nations General Assembly in resolution 55/196 proclaimed the year 2003 as the International Year of Freshwater. The resolution adopted on 20 December 2000, was initiated by the Government of Tajikistan and supported by 148 other countries. It encouraged Governments, the United Nations system and all other actors to take advantage of the Year to increase awareness of the importance of sustainable freshwater use, management and protection. It also called upon governments, national and international organizations, non-governmental organizations and the private sector to make voluntary contributions and to lend other forms of support to the Year.


The International Year of Freshwater provided an opportunity to accelerate the implementation of the principles of integrated water resources management. The Year was used as a platform for promoting existing activities and spearheading new initiatives in water resources at the international, regional and national levels. The International Year of Freshwater followed up on agreements reached at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (Johannesburg, September 2002), and has had an impact far beyond the year 2003.


The publication by the United Nations system of the World Water Development Report was Launch of the International Year of Freshwater, Berne, Switzerlanda major focus of the Year's public information activities. The first edition was launched at the Third World Water Forum in Kyoto, Japan in March 2003.


Activities were organized in many countries. In Switzerland the year was launched in front of the national parliament with a water park. Here people could see how much water each person in the developed world uses per day. A water tower showed the 162 litres of water used by the average Swiss, compared to the two or three litres consumed in many developing countries.





The official website for the WaterYear 2003 from UNESCO.

An article on the launch of the Year in Switzerland from SwissInfo.

All the International Years proclaimed by the General Assembly.



Stamp catalogue


Netherlands Antilles          22 October 2003









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last revised: 8 February 2008