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World Water Day
by Rene Wadlow
2016-03-22 10:10:31
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Twaterrene01_400he United Nations General Assembly has designated 22 March each year as World Water Day to highlight the universal need for water.  In addition the 2015-2030 Sustainable Development Goals set by the UN, in Goal six calls “to strengthen support for national plans to achieve water and sanitation for all, and make sure resources are allocated in a transparent manner, and that services get to the poor and marginalized.  Water, sanitation and hygienic policies should be integrated with other sectors, such as health and education.”

There are three dimensions to a world water policy:

1)      Universal access to safe and affordable drinking water and adequate sanitation. This is particularly important in urban areas where now more than half of the world's population lives;

2)      Adequate water for agricultural irrigation. This requires sustainable extraction and supply of fresh water, the protection of river and lake ecosystems, and sustainable use of underground aquifers that provide water.

3)      The management of trans-frontier river systems. Many of the major river systems of the world are use by more than one State. If there is not good cooperation among the States using a river system, political disputes may arise. The world “rival” comes from a Latin term meaning “one on the opposite side of a stream” or “one who uses the same stream”.  The possibilities of conflict over river systems or the creation of dams to control water flow are real.  Thus the management of trans-frontier river systems should be a priority.

The world is desperately in need of a set of shared global values − common purposes grounded in ethical principles of justice and stewardship. As Citizens of the World, we have a unique opportunity to  help define these values and priorities.  The ecologically-sound use of water is such a common purpose on which we rededicate ourselves on World Water Day.


Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens

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