World marks World Water Day as 2.2 billion people lack safe water and sanitation facilities
The world marked World Water Day on 22nd March under the theme ‘Valuing Water’ to raise global awareness on the importance of freshwater. Today, water is under extreme threat from human-induced factors such as rapid population growth, unsustainable agriculture, and rapid industrialization. Further, climate change is worsening water access around the globe.
The World Water Day was initiated in 1972 during the UN Conference on Environment and Development. The UN General Assembly adopted a resolution to mark 22nd March every year as a World Water Day to raise global awareness on water importance and conservation.
This year’s theme ‘Valuing Water’ is about what water means to people, its value, and how better it can be protected. The value of water is much more than its price. It holds enormous and complex value for households, culture, health, education, economic development, and integrity of the natural environment. Human activities coupled with adverse effects of climate change are posing a greater threat to water resources threatening the realization of Sustainable Development Goal no 6 on access to safe water and sanitization.
As the world marked the ‘Day’ it’s estimated that 2.2 billion people lack safe water and sanitization facilities. A significant number of poor and vulnerable groups in the informal settlements are excluded from the official statistics curtailing the implementation of policies on water supply and sanitation. UN Secretary-General noted that “Today, we are not on track to ensure everyone has access to water and sanitization by 2030, as set out in Sustainable Development Goal 6. While advances being made, current progress needs to quadruple to achieve universal access. Chronic underinvestment in water and sanitization disadvantages and harms vast numbers of people, which is unacceptable.”
Despite the challenges, measures are being put in place at global and nations’ level to address inequalities and obstacles to fulfilling human rights to water and water; and achieving the water-related goals of Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development. The UN Secretary-General appreciated Individual governments and relevant stakeholders’ measures to increase water investment infrastructure. He said, “Am encouraged by the joint statement signed by some 160 countries during the UN High-Level meeting on the water on 18 March. This shows a strong commitment to advancing all water-related aspects of Sustainable Development Goals.”
“On this World Water Day, lets us commit to intensify efforts to truly valuing water so all many have equitable access to this most precious resource,” he added.