22 March 2016
Laxenburg, Austria

World Water Day at IIASA

Again this year, the IIASA Water Program  celebrates World Water Day. The 2016  theme is Better Water, Better Jobs.  

© Juan Moyano | Dreamstime

© Juan Moyano | Dreamstime

The IIASA Water program celebrates World Water Day 2016. Following this year´s selected theme “Better water, better jobs," we bring together IIASA staff members and guests by organizing in-house gaming activities that address problems of reconciling competing demands with supply and other water-related challenges. 

Additionally IIASA together with the Centre for Systems Solutions collected a broad range of water-related games that can be played to better understand barriers and solutions on a pathway to clean and accessible water for all. Find a game that is interesting for you, invite your friends to play under Games 4 Sustainability.

Furthermore, a range of links to resources for World Water Day 2016 have been collected and provided below.


World Water Day is an international observance and an opportunity to learn more about water related issues, be inspired to tell others, and take action to make a difference. World Water Day dates back to the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development where an international observance for water was recommended. The United Nations General Assembly responded by designating 22 March 1993 as the first World Water Day. It has been held annually since then. Each year, UN Water sets a theme for World Water Day corresponding to a current or future challenge. The engagement campaign is coordinated by one or several of the UN-Water members with a related mandate. 

This year’s theme “Better Water, Better Jobs” concerns the more than 1.5 billion people, almost half of the world's workers, working in water-related sectors, nearly all jobs depend on water, and those that ensure its safe delivery. Yet the millions of people who work in water are often not recognized or protected by basic labor rights. The 2016 theme focuses on how enough quantity and quality of water can change workers' lives and livelihoods, and even transform societies and economies.

IIASA, WFaS and UN Water 

UN-Water, responsible for the annual World Water Day as well as for the UN Water decade, is composed of member representatives of 26 United Nations organizations that work on water issues and 17 other, non-UN organizations which are partners in UN-Water. Via the WFaS Initiative IIASA has had a close partnership with UN Water since September 2013. They strongly support the Water program´s efforts in contributing to the wellbeing of the world through scientific analyses to identify solutions that can ensure water security which is essential to sustainable development, and in the near term to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (Agenda 2030). As an interagency entity of the United Nations, endorsed in 2003 for the follow-up process of the 2002 , UN-Water strengthens coordination among UN agencies and improves the cooperation between relevant governing bodies and development organizations that work on all aspects of freshwater and sanitation considering surface and groundwater resources, the interface between freshwater and seawater and water-related disasters.  

Why celebrate World Water Day 2016?

IIASA´s Water program, carrying out collaborative research across sectors and scales, principally aims to improving the understanding of local water-related nexus issues on food, energy, transboundary water management, and ecosystem services. And, as the Water program builds its research activities and projects to contribute and link to its flagship initiative, the Water Futures and Solutions (WFaS) initiative, itself a stakeholder informed global initiative and shaping WAT´s direction towards exploring methods and new approaches, feedback from and activities with people are central to its work. 

As an institution dedicated to creating and improving knowledge, we consider capacity building crucial at IIASA. At this stage in the development of the Water Program, capacity-building activities have been focused on the Young Scientists Summer Program (YSSP) programs at IIASA and in South-African, as well as the post-doc program. With the activities on World Water Day the Water Program aims to reach out and raise awareness among all IIASA staff about water related issues and their relevance to our daily work and our daily lives.

Gaming Activities for World Water Day 2016

As the world is becoming more and more complex, and the future more and more uncertain, new tools arise to develop and implement solutions. Building on a broad range of systems models that IIASA is using to address global challenges, serious games and simulations strengthen the human dimension and outreach potential. These games are made not to escape from reality – but to improve it. 

Thus, we believe that games can provide exciting ways to bring people’s attention and raise awareness about water issues. Here is a collection of games addressing diverse water issues: Games 4 Sustainability

Please use them to celebrate World Water Day 2016. Experience water challenges and inspire people to take action. Have fun as well.   

Further activities worldwide can be found here.


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Last edited: 23 March 2016


Piotr Magnuszewski

Research Scholar Water Security Research Group - Biodiversity and Natural Resources Program

Research Scholar Equity and Justice Research Group - Population and Just Societies Program

Taher Kahil

Research Group Leader and Research Scholar Water Security Research Group - Biodiversity and Natural Resources Program

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International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Schlossplatz 1, A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria
Phone: (+43 2236) 807 0 Fax:(+43 2236) 71 313