World Water Day

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World Water Day
Observed by All UN member states
Date 22 March
Next time 22 March 2015 (2015-03-22)
Frequency annual

World Water Day has been observed on 22 March since 1993 when the United Nations General Assembly declared 22 March as "World Day for Water".[1]

This day was first formally proposed in Agenda 21 of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Observance began in 1993 and has grown significantly ever since; for the general public to show support, it is encouraged for the public to not use their taps throughout the whole day. The day has also become a popular Facebook trend.

The UN and its member nations devote this day to implementing UN recommendations and promoting concrete activities within their countries regarding the world's water resources. Each year, one of various UN agencies involved in water issues takes the lead in promoting and coordinating international activities for World Water Day. Since its inception in 2003, UN-Water has been responsible for selecting the theme, messages and lead UN agency for the World Day for Water.

In addition to the UN member states, a number of NGOs promoting clean water and sustainable aquatic habitats have used World Day for Water as a time to focus public attention on the critical water issues of our era. Every three years since 1997, for instance, the World Water Council has drawn thousands to participate in its World Water Forum during the week of World Day for Water. Participating agencies and NGOs have highlighted issues such as a billion people being without access to safe water for drinking and the role of gender in family access to safe water. In 2003, 2006, 2009, and 2012 the UN World Water Development Report was launched on the occasion of the World Water Day.

Water Day, by the years[edit]

2014: Water and Energy Water and energy are closely interlinked and interdependent. Energy generation and transmission requires utilization of water resources, particularly for hydroelectric, nuclear, and thermal energy sources. Conversely, about 8% of the global energy generation is used for pumping, treating and transporting water to various consumers.

In 2014, the UN System – working closely with its Member States and other relevant stakeholders – is collectively bringing its attention to the water-energy nexus, particularly addressing inequities, especially for the 'bottom billion' who live in slums and impoverished rural areas and survive without access to safe drinking water, adequate sanitation, sufficient food and energy services. It also aims to facilitate the development of policies and crosscutting frameworks that bridge ministries and sectors, leading the way to energy security and sustainable water use in a green economy. Particular attention will be paid to identifying best practices that can make a water- and energy-efficient 'Green Industry' a reality.

Coordinated by UNIDO and UNU-INWEH. Official Website www.unwater.org/worldwaterday

2013: Water Cooperation In December 2010, the United Nations General Assembly declared 2013 as the United Nations International Year of Water Cooperation. In reflection of this declaration, the 2013 World Water Day, which will take place on 22 March 2013, also will be dedicated to water cooperation. Therefore, UN-Water has called upon UNESCO to lead the 2013 United Nations International Year on Water Cooperation, in particular because of the Organization’s unique multidisciplinary approach which blends the natural and social sciences, education, culture and communication. Given the intrinsic nature of water as a transversal and universal element, the United Nations International Year on Water Cooperation naturally would embrace and touch upon all these aspects.

Coordinated by UNESCO in collaboration with UNECE and UNDESA. Official Website www.unwater.org/water-cooperation-2013

2012: Water and Food Security: The World is Thirsty Because We are Hungry Official Website www.unwater.org/worldwaterday [2]

Coordinated by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. The visual identity and communication campaign is by UN-Water.[3] It is in conjunction with a one-day event organised by EU Minister for Water Stephen Tummon who has organised a one-day event to raise awareness about water, called "Aquatic Picnic". On the matter, Tummon said; "It's incredible how many people don't know that water actually exists, I first learnt about "water" in 2009 and my life hasn't been the same since. Thats what #aquapic (sic) is all about"

On the occasion of 2012 World Water Day, the ICRC is calling attention to the water-related challenges faced by civilians caught up in fighting.[4] WaterAid partnered with Waterlogic to help raise funds for clean water and sanitation for poor communities worldwide.[5] In participation with World Water Day 2012, Waterlogic pledged $225,000 USD to WaterAid over the course of three years.[6]

2011: Water for cities: responding to the urban challenge[2]

Coordinated by UN-HABITAT. The visual identity and communication campaign is by FAO WATER, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Water section.[3]

2010: Clean Water for a Healthy World

Coordinated by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The communication and visual identity campaign is by FAO WATER, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Water section.[3]

UN-Water is dedicating World Water Day 2010 to the theme of water quality, reflecting its importance alongside quantity of the resource in water management.

Clean water and war: in time of war the access to clean water is frequently restricted because water supply or purification systems have been destroyed, because water reserves are located in areas that have become dangerous or because of massive displacement. People ultimately resort to sources of water with a high health risk and many people contract water-borne diseases.[7]

2009: Trans Waters

Coordinated by the United Nations Education, Science and Culture Organization (UNESCO), with the assistance of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Water section.[3]

On the occasion of 2009 World Day for Water, the ICRC called on governments to ensure safe water and decent sanitation for civilians in conflict zones. In many conflicts, disease kills more civilians than bullets.[8]

2008: Sanitation

Coordinated by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO). The World Day for Water 2008 also coincides with the International Year of Sanitation (2008), which was organized by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) in collaboration with the UN-Water Task Force on Sanitation.[9]

On 21 March 2008, The Guardian Weekly published a special report on World Day for Water.OMG[citation needed][10]

2007: Coping With Water Scarcity

Coordinated by Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). 2007's theme highlighted the increasing significance of water scarcity worldwide and the need for increased integration and cooperation to ensure sustainable, efficient and equitable management of scarce water resources, both at international and local levels.[11]

2006: Water and Culture

Coordinated by United Nations Education, Science and Culture Organization (UNESCO). The theme 'Water and Culture' of 2006 drew the attention to the fact that there are as many ways of viewing, using, and celebrating water as there are cultural traditions across the world.[12][13]

2005: Water for Life 2005–2015

Coordinated by the United Nations (UN). The United Nations General Assembly at its 58th session in December 2003 agreed to proclaim the years 2005 to 2015 as the International Decade for Action, "Water for Life" (Water for Life Decade), and beginning with World Water Day, 22 March 2005.[14] The Water for Life decade set the world's goals on "a greater focus on water-related issues, while striving to ensure the participation of women in water-related development efforts, and further cooperation at all levels to achieve water-related goals of the Millennium Declaration, Johannesburg Plan of Implementation of the World Summit for Sustainable Development and Agenda 21."[15]

2004: Water and Disasters

Coordinated by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR). The message of the Day was: Weather, climate and water resources can have a devastating impact on socio-economic development and on the well-being of humankind. According to the World Meteorological Organization, weather and climate-related extreme events, such as tornadoes, thunderstorms, storms, cyclones, floods and drought, account for nearly 75 per cent of all disasters. They lead to an enormous toll of human suffering, loss of life and economic damage. Monitoring these events, predicting their movements and issuing timely warnings are essential to mitigate the disastrous impact of such events on population and economy.[12]

2003: Water for Future

Coordinated by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Water for the Future was the theme for World Water Day 2003. It called on each one of us to maintain and improve the quality and quantity of fresh water available to future generations. The goal was to inspire political and community action and encourage greater global understanding of the need for more responsible water use and conservation.[12]

2002: Water for Development

Coordinated by International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The theme for 2002, 'Water for Development,' carried the message that the poor and deteriorating state of water resources in many parts of the world demand integrated water resources planning and management.[12]

2001: Water for Health

Coordinated by the World Health Organization (WHO). The message for the day was: "Concrete efforts are necessary to provide clean drinking water and improve health as well as to increase awareness world-wide of the problems and of the solutions. 22 March is a unique occasion to remind everybody that solutions are possible. Use the resources on this site to help turn words into political commitment and action."[16]

2000: Water for the 21st century

Coordinated by United Nations Education, Science and Culture Organization (UNESCO).[17]

1999: Everyone Lives Downstream

Coordinated by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The 1999 World Water Day's primary message is that when it comes to using freshwater, human beings, whether they live in a village or a megacity, cannot isolate themselves from their neighbours. Rather, there are fundamental linkages and dependencies between water users and uses in a given drainage basin that affect everyone in that basin.[18]

1998: Groundwater – The Invisible Resource

Coordinated by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). Nearly half of the world's population depends on groundwater sources for drinking water supply and for other uses. The UN is concerned about three primary gaps in groundwater management which have enormous implications for sustainable development: (1) The accelerated degradation of groundwater systems, through pollution of aquifers. (2) The lack of both professional and public awareness about the sustainable use and economic importance of groundwater resources generally. (3) The economic implications of not resolving groundwater demand and supply management.[19]

1997: The World's Water: Is there enough?

Coordinated by United Nations Education, Science and Culture Organization (UNESCO)and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The message for the World Day for Water 1997 was that water is a basic requirement for all life, yet water resources are facing more and more demands from, and competition among, users.[12][20]

1996: Water for Thirsty Cities

World Day for Water 1996 emphasized the growing water crisis faced by cities across the world which threatens the sustainability of their social and economic development.[12][21]

1995: Women and Water[22]

1994: Caring for our Water Resources is Everybody's Business[23]

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