Here we are, at the end of 2013, the International Year of Water Cooperation. The objective of the Year was to draw attention to the benefits of cooperation in water management. Cooperation in water management protects the environment, preserves water resources, creates economic benefits and promotes social and gender equality. Water knows no borders, and 148 countries share at least one trans-boundary river basin. Water cooperation also helps to generate security and build peace. The water cooperations in which I have been personally involved have seen an awesome development this year. While January started cold and quiet in Germany, the year ended with tropical heat in Cameroon. In the time between, our Collaborating Centre was re-designated, a large Legionella outbreak was noticed and surveyed, visitors were welcomed, field trips organized, projects were finished and others just started. Some people left us to work in different places and many new people entered my life.
Nelson, Thomas, Jaquie, Khalid, Louisa, Susanne, Daniel, Alex, Peggy, Andreas, Line, Clare, Esther, Katrin, Erick, Mary, Fred, Scott, Nicole, Peter, to name just a few. With some I only met up for a short while, but with others I was able to share more time and I am looking forward to whatever cooperation will develop in the future. Not all of them work in the field of water and risks, but for all of them water is an essential part of their life. They become aware of unusual rain patterns, provide hand-washing facilities for their customers, lack sufficient water supply at work or home and are exposed to floods. Despite all the risks, most of us enjoy water in our environment. Who doesn’t smile, when the first snow falls or the first rain begins at the end of dry season and a rainbow appears in the sky?
Whatever water event makes you smile, I hope there will be many of them in 2014, which is UN Year of Family Farming and Year of Crystallography.
Wishing all of you happy holidays and a peaceful start to 2014.