People from the Bengali community have a proverb that says that life is the other name for water. Indeed, without water, we would cease to exist. Earth is 71% per cent water and our bodies contain 60% water. Water is thus, vital for life on the planet. However, humans need freshwater to conduct their daily activities, not saltwater. United Nations celebrates March 22, each year, as World Water Day to make people aware of the importance of freshwater. On the occasion of the 28th World Water Day, we take a brief look at its history, its significance and this year’s theme.
The idea for a World Water Day was put forward in 1992, at the Rio de Janeiro United Nations Conference on Environment and Development. It was here that the March 22 date was agreed upon and finalised. The first World Water Day was held on the following year and it has continued ever since.
The event is significant in the fact that the UN seeks to make communities across the planet aware of the importance of freshwater. UN-Water also alerts people about the global water crisis in the wake of a rapidly climbing human population, the unequal geographical distribution of freshwater resources, rapid urbanisation, the impact of global warming and subsequent climate change, freshwater depletion due to its use by industries for the manufacture of beverages and in agricultural and livestock rearing farms. The organisation then stresses the need for water conservation and sustainable use.
The World Water Day initiative is part of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) set by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), in the year 2015. These are 17 global goals that the UNGA plans to achieve by 2030 to create a sustainable future for humanity across economic, social and environmental spheres and promote world peace. World Water Day falls under SDG 6, which is ensuring access to water and sanitation for everyone and is dependent on corporate compliance.
‘Valuing Water’ is the theme for 2021's World Water Day. The event will be conducted through a webinar where the UN World Water Development Report 2021 will also be presented.