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Environment Support Group gets United Nations 'WATER FOR LIFE' 2012
Narendra Ch | 24 Mar 2012

ESG was given the Category 1 'Best Water Management Practices' Award for its initiative: 'Protection of Bangalore Lakes for Posterity - Setting a Legal Precedent for Conservation of Lakes as Commons'. This multi-year multi-pronged effort based on appropriate interventions involving local governance bodies, under the direction supervision of the Judiciary, is considered by the UN as an 'outstanding contribution towards the conservation of water bodies in Bangalore, India, and its demonstrable and tangible impact on the food and water security of urban, peri-urban and rural communities in the region'.

Environment Support Group (ESG) has been awarded the 2012 UN-Water "Water for Life" Best Practices Award in a ceremony held at the headquarters of the Food and Agriculture Organisation, Rome on 22 March 2012, World Water Day.

ESG was given the Category 1 “Best Water Management Practices” Award for its initiative: “Protection of Bangalore Lakes for Posterity – Setting a Legal Precedent for Conservation of Lakes as Commons”. This multi-year multi-pronged effort based on appropriate interventions involving local goverance bodies, under the direction supervision of the Judiciary, is considered by the UN as an “outstanding contribution towards the conservation of waterbodies in Bangalore, India, and its demonstrable and tangible impact on the food and water security of urban, peri-urban and rural communities in the region”.

The Category 2 'Best participatory, communication, awareness-raising and education practices' award was given to Soluciones Simples Que Salvan Vidas (Sodis) of Bolivia for developing a “communication strategy for social and behavior change through the promotion of innovative practices based on participatory approach to community-based empowerment and awareness raising, specially among vulnerable groups, to address key challenges related to hygiene, water and sanitation and the adequate use of services in four municipalities of the Department of Cochabamba, Bolivia, and its outstanding contribution”.

According to the United Nations, the basic purpose of these awards is to “promote efforts to fulfil international commitments made on water and water-related issues by 2015 through recognition of outstanding best practices that can ensure the long-term sustainable management of water resources and contribute to the achievement of internationally agreed goals and targets contained in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Agenda 21 and the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation.” In 2012, special focus is given to the topic "Water and Food Security".

The Secretariat of the United Nations Office to Support the International Decade for Action "Water for Life" 2005-2015/UN-Water Decade Programme on Advocacy and Communication (UNW-DPAC) and the UN World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP), which coordinated this programme, received a total of 28 applications for its 2012 edition: 22 for category 1 'Best water management practices', 6 for category 2 'Best participatory, communication, awareness-raising and education practices'. Geographical distribution of applications is as follows: Africa 29%, Asia 32%, Europe 7%, Latin America and the Caribbean 32%.

The special award ceremony was preceded by addresses by Mr. José Graziano da Silva, Director-General of Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Mr. Michel Jarraud, Secretary-General World Meterological Organisation (WMO, Chair UN-Water), Mr. Loïc Fauchon, President World Water Council (WWC) and Mr. Kanayo F. Nwanze, President, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). His Excellency Mr. Corrado Clini, Minister for the Environment, Land and Sea, Ministry of Environment, Land and Sea (Italy) and Her Excellency Mrs. Edna Molewa, Minister for Water, South Africa and Chair of the African Ministers Council of Water (AMCOW) graced the occasion. This was followed by a special statement and musical performance by FAO Goodwill Ambassador Anggun.

Mr. Jeronimo Blasco Jauregui, City Councilor in-charge of Culture, Education, Environment and Citizen's Participation of Zaragoza, Spain and Mr. José Graziano da Silva, Director-General of Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) handed the awards to Mr. Leo F. Saldanha, Coordinator/Trustee of ESG and to Ms. Elsa Sanchez Montano, Executive Director of SODIS.