World Water Day Celebrated

22 March 2010: On 22 March, the UN is celebrating World Water Day with the slogan “Clean Water for a Healthy World,” chosen by UN-Water to raise awareness on water quality.

While in the past, water availability has almost always taken the centre stage with the attention placed on quantity, this year an important shift aims to focus on the importance of water quality to sustain healthy ecosystem and human well-being. The World Water Day campaign is a year-long operation harnessing the best UN knowledge and disseminating its messages at local and global levels. The World Water Day website provides arguments and tools aimed at addressing different stakeholders, channeling efforts to reach policy makers and the public at large.

To celebrate the Day, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), in collaboration with UN-Habitat, the UN Secretary-General Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation (UNSGAB) and the Government of Kenya, are hosting a three-day event at UN headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. During the Day, UN-Water will launch its statement on water quality, a scientific panel will address challenges and responses, and a high-level panel will discuss policy options and actions to improve water quality. The outcomes of the event will be communicated, through a live web-cast, to the UN General Assembly in New York, US, which is also organizing an event to celebrate World Water Day.

UN-Water notes that the impacts of climate change can heavily and easily compromise fragile ecosystems: prolonged droughts can dramatically reduce their ability to dilute polluted water, and with it trigger a chain reaction that can further severely stress, and therefore diminish, their natural functions. It further underlines that coastal ecosystems are greatly at risk: mangroves, coral reefs and sea-grass beds are loosing their role as storm protectors and breeding and nursery grounds. In some regions we are already facing incredibly high risk of extinction for some fish species. UN-Water therefore calls for acting where we can: preventing, reducing and controlling pollution at all level regardless of our role in society. [World Water Day Website] [IISD RS Sources]