World Water Day | UN Conference on Water 2023
Lydia Brakchi García
World Water Day is an annual celebration that takes place on 22 March each year with the aim of raising public awareness of the importance of the management and rational use of water resources. In 1992, a United Nations Conference on Environment and Development was held in Rio de Janeiro, from there arose the proposal for the celebration of this day, finally instituted in 1993 by the General Assembly of the United Nations. This day is a call to action to conserve and protect water resources, promote sustainable water use, improve infrastructure and technology for water supply and improve education and awareness of water use and management. On 28 July 2010, the United Nations General Assembly through Resolution 64/292 declared water as a natural resource and a human right essential for life, health, well-being and sustainable development. Access to safe water and adequate sanitation must be available to everyone on the planet without discrimination. Water is also a shared resource and a common good, which must be protected and used sustainably.
In terms of numbers, some 2.2 billion people do not have access to safe drinking water (WHO/UNICEF 2019). More than half of the world’s population, around 4.2 billion people, are deprived of safely managed sanitation services. More than 295,000 children under the age of five die from diarrhoeal diseases caused by poor sanitation or directly due to unsafe water (WHO/UNICEF 2019). This is largely caused by wastewater returning to the ecosystem untreated, around 80% (UNESCO, 2017). The UN has adopted a number of initiatives, such as the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) as part of the 2030 Agenda, more specifically number 6, to ensure universal access to clean water and sanitation. Today, we are a long way from achieving this goal, so governments should work four times faster to achieve this SDG, according to estimates.
This year, this important day is being celebrated at the same time as the UN Water Conference 2023 (22-24 March in New York). This meeting will provide an opportunity to look for possible solutions to water-related problems. In addition, governments from all over the world will come together to set internationally agreed water-related goals.
Wednesday, March 22, 2023