The United Nations has declared March 22 as World Water Day. In line with the UN theme of ‘Valuing Water’ an international High Level meeting and virtual convention is being organised on March 22 across the globe. Be it education, health, food, household needs or macro-level economic activities and international commerce, water is an indispensable resource for human existence. However, scientific evidence clearly states that the climate is changing and will continue to change, affecting societies mainly through water. Valuing water and mitigating its misuse and wastage are practical steps all nations can collectively partake in combat the problem.
In order to support the achievement of ‘Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6: water and sanitation for all by 2030’, the United Nations issues a thematic report each year shedding light on pertinent topics such as desertification and drought, pollution of waterways, water scarcity and agriculture, use of non-conventional waters and financing Agricultural Water. For the World Water Day Celebrations 2021, the focus will be on understanding the value of water so as to safeguard this critical resource. The online event will be hosted from 13.00-14.30 CET with the opening address given by Audrey Azoulay, Director-General, UNESCO.
The idea of the virtual convention is to not only raise awareness about the global water crisis faced by mankind and wastage of water, but to truly understand and celebrate the multidimensional value of this irreplaceable source of sustenance.
Special invitees and guests include Pope Francis, Macky Sall, President, Republic of Senegal (TBC), Marina Sereni, Italian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Jonathan Malagón González, Minister of Housing, Cities and Territory of the Republic of Colombia (TBC) and Henk Ovink, Special Envoy International Water Affairs, The Kingdom of Netherlands. Next on the agenda is the presentation of the UN World Water Development Report 2021 delivered by Michela Miletto, Coordinator and Director, UNESCO WWAP. This shall be followed by an interactive discussion on the topic, ‘What does water mean to you?’
Water is a collectively shared resource impacting all of mankind. In order to make it relevant, dignitaries from different countries have been invited to share their thoughts. Rasha Hassan, Governance Coordinator, Water Youth Network (Syria), Mohammed Hammie Rajab, Journalist and Facilitator of Change, Media for Community Empowerment (Civil Society Organisation) (Tanzania) and the Keynote listener, Pedro Arrojo-Agudo, UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation (Spain) will be contemplating the value of water and sharing their diversified views, cultural standpoints problems faced as a nation and solutions to an impeding problem.
The session will be concluded by Torgny Holmgren, Executive Director, SIWI (Sweden), who shall be announcing the winner of Stockholm Water Prize.