On the occasion of the Signing Ceremony of the Agreement, Mr Matsuura welcomed this agreement that represents a great opportunity for scientific cooperation and that will have far reaching consequences. “The generous support being provided through UNESCO to the UN World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP) will place Italy at the heart of a multilateral effort to address the world water crisis and to meet the Millennium Development Goals”, he said.
The Director-General expressed his satisfaction for the World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP), as “the flagship of the United Nations system under the guidance of UN-Water.” Mr Matsuura also highlighted the Organization’s role in triggering the process that led to the establishment of the Programme, “UNESCO is proud to have taken the leadership in bringing together 24 UN bodies to work together in a coordinated manner towards a set of commonly identified goals, culminating in the triennial report on the state of the world’s freshwater”, added Mr Matsuura.
The agreement will be followed by others, notably with the government of the Umbria Region, which is providing the premises in which the Secretariat will be housed. The latter will be fully operational within a few months to allow the Programme’s Secretariat to begin producing the third World Water Development Report, which Mr Matsuura will present to the Fifth World Water Forum in March 2009 in Istanbul, Turkey.
The Director-General also informed Mr Pecoraro Scanio that he had recently discussed this agreement with the Italian Prime Minister, Mr. Romano Prodi, in Addis Abeba at the recent Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union. Mr Matsuura and Mr Prodi have scheduled to attend the official inauguration together, which is being organized for later this year.
The Italian Minister for the Environment expressed his appreciation for “this new opportunity to enhance the cooperation established between Italy and UNESCO, clearly illustrated by the fact that Italy is the primary responsible for extra-budgetary funding of UNESCO.” “Our cooperation,” he added, “covers a wide range of activities in various fields of competences such as Education, Culture, or Science.” On this occasion, the Minister mentioned the projects set up by the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), located in Trieste, as well as the projects by the BRESCE, UNESCO’s Venice Office, whose mandate is to achieve the goals of UNESCO and its Member States in the fields of science and culture. “The transfer of the WWAP Secretariat to Perugia is a new demonstration of our common determination to face the main challenges for humankind through an original kind of cooperation,” he added.