World Water Day 2019: Leaving No One Behind

world water day

March 22nd has been recognized as World Water Day since 1993. Organized by the United Nations, World Water Day is celebrated around the world with events and lectures to raise public awareness concerning fresh water needs and wastefulness.

In 2010 the UN declared “…the right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation as a human right that is essential for the full enjoyment of life….” To uphold this and other declared rights, in 2016 the UN developed 17 Sustainable Development Goals, with the sixth one specifically articulating the goal of providing safe and clean water to every person in the world by 2030. Every year since then World Water Day has had a theme that is connected to SDG 6 and in 2019 the theme is Leaving No One Behind. [1]

Some Hard Facts About the World’s Water Situation
  • 1 billion people live without fresh, clean water.
  • One in four primary schools can’t supply fresh drinking water to its students.
  • Every day approximately 700 children under the age of five die from diarrhea caused by unclean water.
  • 80% of the people suffer from contaminated water live in rural areas.
  • Where there is no running water and it has to be collected by hand, 80% of the time it is the responsibility of women and girls.
  • Nearly two out of three people worldwide suffer a severe water scarcity at least one month each year.. [2]
Leaving No One Behind

This year’s theme, Leaving No One Behind, cuts right to the core of the idea behind SDG 6. The lectures and events focused on what is problematic about supplying water to everyone, as well as possible solutions.

One of the major problems is to include the weak and marginalized sectors of society who are unable to fight for their own rights, such as women, children, refugees, the elderly, the poor, and the disabled. Other factors that might cause people to be left behind in the global quest for universal access to clean water are climate change, population growth, war, and forced migration.

It is up to the strong to use their resources to identify those whose water rights are in peril and to create legal and regulatory frameworks to defend and uphold and those rights. [3]

Worldwide Events

On and around March 22nd countries on every continent hosted events to raise money, awareness and hope for a better future. Such events included:

  • A fun day at the beach in João Pessoa, Brazil. In addition to speeches about the need for providing clean water to all, thousands of people spent 15 minutes to clean the beach of trash and debris. Afterwards they weighed all of the trash to show what can be done in a quarter of an hour by a group of people who care about their environment.
  • In Hammond, Indiana they celebrated World Water Day with a “Frog Frenzy.” People took to the local nature reserve to study tadpoles, frogs and toads and to take part in frog jumping contests. All of this was followed by lectures about how to keep water habitats clean for both humans and frogs alike.
  • The University of Balamand in northern Lebanon cancelled regular classes and dedicated the whole day to learning about what can be done to sustain the water sources in the area, including joining forces with government agencies to protect those sources.
  • In Nyala, Sudan, after speeches by representatives from UNICEF and the Water and Environmental Sanitation Committee, the Association of People with Disabilities performed water-related drama and music presentations.
  • A popular event that was held in numerous cities throughout the world is photography contests and displays that focus on water. [4]
Final Note

Despite the discouraging facts concerning the world’s water supply today, it is very encouraging that the UN recognizes the seriousness of the situation and is doing everything in its power to improve the situation.

The future is truly in our hands and working together for the greater good can make the goal of clean water for every person, without leaving anyone behind, a reality.

References

[1] Greening the Blue, World Water Day, March 22, 2019, 2019
[2] United Nations, Un Water, 22 March, World Water Day, 2019
[3] United Nations, Theme World Water Day: Leaving No One Behind, 2019
[4] United Nations, Events World Water Day, 2019

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