World Water Day 2018: ‘Nature for Water’

world water dayMarch 22nd marked the 25th annual UN World Water Day. The purpose of WWD is to focus attention on the importance of ensuring that the world has an ample supply of clean water.

The theme of the 2018 World Water Day is “Nature for Water”—exploring nature-based solutions to the water challenges we face in the 21st century.

In addition to the annual World Water Day, March 22nd kicked off the UN project Decade for Action: Water for Sustainable Development. Today, 2.1 billion people suffer from a lack of clean water. The goal of the project is for the whole world to have access to clean water, with  a serious reduction in pollution.

Nature based solutions can fix many of our water problems and help restore the natural water supply: planting new forests; reconnecting rivers to our agricultural floodplains and restoring wetlands; balancing the green infrastructure and fixing damaged ecosystems . [1]

SDG 6

The UN General Assembly made a point of tying in this year’s World Water Day with Sustainable Development Goal 6.

In 2015 the United Nations Development Program presented a 17-goal framework to deal with all of the world’s problems. From poverty to education, gender equality to climate control, these 17 goals — if implemented — would bring peace, equality and a clean environment for us all.

Sustainable Development Goal 6 is to: “…ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.” [2]

There are eight SDG 6 targets to be reached — one by 2020, six by 2030 and one without a target date. Together, rhese targets aim to ensure that there is clean drinking water and sanitation for everyone, everywhere. There is a joint team of the UNICEF and WHO — Joint Monitoring Program for Water Supply and Sanitation (JMP) — whose job it is to make sure that SDG 6 meets all of the targets. [3]

According to the President of the UN General Assembly, Miroslav Lajcak, the 2018 World Water Day event will “contribute to the review of SDG 6” during the 2018 session of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF). According to Lajcak, “the targets set by SDG 6 will force us to use our natural resources wisely, to increase sources of fresh water and to lessen pollution.” [4]

World Water Day is Greeted by a Snowstorm

The opening of World Water Day was greeted by a foot of snow in New York City, causing many to miss the ceremony. Pitbull, an Hispanic/American rap artist who is a serious advocate for environmental causes, had to miss giving his speech due the inclement weather. He was supposed to announce a joint social media awareness campaign with performers Pink, Bruno Mars, Maroon 5 “Clean Water Cause Flash.” As fitting for an environmental activist, Pitbull’s last albums were named Global Warming, Globalization and Climate Change.

In the statement that Pitbull sent in lieu of attending the ceremony, he humorously said that he was raised by women and learned early in life never to argue with a mother, especially Mother Nature. He went on to say that the performers involved with the “Clean Water Cause Flash” project intend to bring awareness to over 3 billion people and can make a serious difference in ensuring safe water access. [5]

Final Note—What Can We Do?

The objectives of World Water Day are to raise awareness of and be bluntly truthful about the water problems facing the world, while showing that solving the problem requires shared responsibility.

Mahmoud Saikal, the Vice President of the UN General Assembly, stated in his speech at the ceremonies that there are two realities today — one where no one is thirsty and one in which billions have no water to drink. Saikal also stated that, luckily, there is still time to fix the problem. [6]

There are no fast, miracle cures. It is a day by day battle and that is why programs like SDG have target dates more than 10 years in the future. Small steps, like reducing the amount of meat that you eat, saving leftovers, recycling, and properly disposing of trash, help preserve our water supplies, as well as keep our environment clean. And, in keeping with the theme of this year’s theme, plant trees, grow vegetables and donate to environmental causes. Every small step that we take today will make a big difference in tomorrow’s world.

References

[1] The World Water Day Organization, The Answer is in Nature, March 13, 2018
[2] UNDP, Goal6: Clean water and sanitation, September 18, 2015
[3] Geneva: World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)Progress on Drinking Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, 2017
[4United Nations Environment Program, World Water Day 2018: The answer is in Nature, March 2018
[5] Jem Aswad, Pitbull Misses UN World Water Day Speech Due to Nor’Easter, Issues Statement, March 22, 2018
[6] UN News, World cannot take water for granted, say UN officials at launch of decade for global decade for action, March 22, 2018

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