On Thursday, 21 March 2013, the United Nations Association of Slovenia celebrated the World Water Day by organizing a roundtable “More space for water”. The issue of water is increasingly at the forefront of political debate in light of climate change, pollution and rapid population growth.
The following experts participated in the roundtable: Janos Tisovszky, Director of United Nations Information Service in Vienna, prof. Dr. Lučka Kajfež Bogataj, Head of the Center for Agrometeorology at the Biotechnical Faculty of the University of Ljubljana, member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, prof. Dr. Mitja Brilly, representative of the Slovenian National Commission for UNESCO, President of the National Committee for the International Hydrological Programme, UNESCO, Dr. Peter Frantar, hydrologist at the Slovenian Environment Agency (ARSO), representative of the Commission for Hydrology at the Association of Slovenian Geographers, and Dr. Vesna Flander Putrle, representative of the Marine Biology Station and the National Institute of Biology. The roundtable was moderated by prof. Dr. Bojko Bučar, President of the United Nations Association of Slovenia. The roundtable at which guests discussed the importance of water resources in the 21st century and water management in Slovenia was organized in collaboration with the Slovenian National Commission for UNESCO.
G. Janos Tisovszky emphasized that the United Nations is carefully recording what has been and what will be done in the field of water and water management but future actions demand strengthened cooperation between both countries and other stakeholders, as well as an increase in projects associated with water. The work of the United Nations in the field of water is a good indicator of how the organization is approaching global challenges and tries to focus on practical solutions.
Prof. Dr. Lučka Kajfež Bogataj expressed dissatisfaction with the measures of the United Nations in the field of mitigation and adaptation to climate change, which were, in her opinion, late and inadequately integrated into their system. She strongly emphasized that, for a brighter future for our world’s water resources, it is necessary to wake up political actors and raise awareness about how appropriate water treatment will improve our lives.
Prof. Dr. Mitja Brilly pointed out that in Slovenia water is not treated sustainably. He presented UNESCO’s program “More space for water”. Past experience has shown that water space is pushed back at the expense of creating arable land. In this same way, the area of Ljubljana is a deprived area equal to the area of Lake Bled. He pointed out that the management of water in Slovenia is inadequate because it should be organized at the regional level.
Dr. Peter Frantar explained that the Slovenian river flow regimes are changing, but the average water temperature is rising. He believes that this is a consequence of climate change. Sooner or later we will have to adapt to these changes.
Dr. Vesna Flander Putrle pointed out that many people would like to live along the coastal belt but this increases the pressure on the ecosystem. After all, it is people who have a big impact on the situation in the Adriatic Sea. She pointed out that the sea is not our garbage bin: everything thrown into it eventually comes back.
UNA Slovenia Youth Section was pleased that the roundtable attracted a diverse audience aware of the importance of water and the challenges in the area in the future.
– Adriana Aralica, Iva Petković