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"Water and Heritage: Connecting Past, Present and Future"
Towards bridging mandatory, disciplinary and institutional divides

UN Side Event March 2023: Water and Heritage

Water and Heritage: Connecting Past, Present and Future
A Dialogue among water professionals and culture, heritage professionals.
Towards bridging mandatory, disciplinary and institutional divides

Monday, 20 March and Tuesday, 21 March 2023

The Dushanbe Declaration of 2022, "Water for Sustainable Development", states that we need to "accelerate our efforts for coherent implementation of water-related goals and achievement of targets of the 2030 Agenda and aim at strengthening political and technical dialogue on water, including at the highest level." This urgent call for action happens on the brink of the UN Conference on the Midterm Comprehensive Review of the Implementation of the Objectives of the International Decade for Action "Water for Sustainable Development" to be convened in New York from 22 to 24 March 2023.

As coordinators of "Dialogues on Water, Culture and Heritage", we share the profound concerns articulated in the Dushanbe declaration. It ignited our mission to make a difference by launching a Water, Culture and Heritage side event from 20 to 21 March in New York leading up to the UN Conference.

The side event called "Water and Heritage: Connecting Past, Present and Future" brings together a diverse and interdisciplinary group to discuss concepts, methodologies and case studies. We challenge governments, Indigenous peoples and local communities, community-based organizations, environmental and conservation groups, historical and cultural organizations, women's and gender organizations, youth organizations and groups, and academic and research institutions to voice their knowledge and experience on past and present water management.

We believe that commitments for action are always rooted in the past as it holds the 'value' of water-related material, conceptual and spiritual "assets" built up over millennia for today's and tomorrow's livelihoods worldwide. Embracing the message from the International Symposium on Water and Culture, Tokyo 2020, we promote "the dialogue on water and cultural heritage", encouraging the exchange of knowledge. Our objective is to foster alliances between water, culture and heritage sectors, which offer synergies and new opportunities vital to addressing sustainable development challenges, focusing on SDG 6 and other water-related goals and targets. Adopting practice-based agendas across all levels of our global society drives the development of long-term perspectives, legal and policy frameworks, and societal-cultural paradigms capable of catalyzing systemic change.

Our collective insight into functional, spatial, temporal, material and immaterial dimensions of water set the scene to develop new integrated perspectives on water and living heritage for the future. It provides diverse insights into new concepts, methodologies and international case studies to better understand historical context, governance and culture. And most importantly, it triggers the movement to understand and build on the past together to embed heritage into sustainable development firmly.

Program and Partners