Editorial Issue 1/2023: Water and Heritage in Action: Commitments for a Sustainable Future






Water awareness is inextricably linked to climate change awareness. In 1987, renowned climate scientist William W. Kellogg wrote an article about “the evolution of awareness” of humankind’s impact on the climate. He noted that over 150 years separated the first observations of this im- pact to the first explicit mention of the greenhouse effect in 1957 (Kellogg 1987). Over 35 years after Kellogg’s article, “awareness” is no longer the greatest challenge: it is “action.” The Water Conference of 1977 in Mar del Plata, Argentina, which aimed at establishing an international water resource management program, proposed an Action Plan to guarantee orderly administration of water resources as a key element for improving socio-economic conditions and quality of life for humankind (United Nations 1983). However, the plan did not result in widespread action and one reason was the broadness with which it was written. The 1977 Action Plan addressed countries generally, without considering specific climates, political structures, economic differences or so- cio-cultural contexts.

Almost 50 years later and halfway into the Water Action Decade (2018–2028), progress on wa- ter-related goals and targets remains alarmingly off-track (United Nations 2023). The Water Action Agenda and the UN 2023 Water Conference promises a different approach and calls for commit-ments and actions. The president of the General Assembly remarked on the need for game chang- ers: methods, strategies, approaches and programs able to connect multiple disciplines, levels of governance and ways of thinking to enhance cooperation across actors, sectors and scales for sustainable development, beyond a “business as usual” approach (United Nations 2022).

How to Cite

Hein, C., D’Agostino, M., Donkor, C., Lin, Q., & Sennema, H. (2023). Editorial Issue 1/2023: Water and Heritage in Action: Commitments for a Sustainable Future. Blue Papers, 2(1), 6–9. https://doi.org/10.58981/bluepapers.2023.1.ed




Kellogg, William W. 1987. “Mankind’s Impact on Climate: The Evolution of an Awareness.” Climatic Change 10: 113–36.

United Nations. 1983. “Mar del Plata Action Plan, United Nations Water Conference, Mar del Plata, Argentina, 14–25 March 1977.” https://digitallibrary.un.org/record/136713?ln=en.

United Nations. 2022. Stakeholder Consultation on the Preparation of the United Nations Conference on the Midterm Comprehensive Review of the Implementation of the Objectives of the International Decade for Action “Water for Sustainable Development” 2018–2028. https://sdgs.un.org/sites/default/files/2022-10/Concept%20 note_Stakeholder%20Consultation_24%20Oct.pdf.

United Nations. 2023. “Uniting the World for Water Action.” 6 March 2023. Accessed 12 March 2023. https:// media.un.org/en/asset/k1k/k1kliay2jy.