event 22 mars 2021

World Water Day // Reveal the hidden value of water

By Charlotte Mueller, Matthias Goerres, Yazmin Leon. How much significance do you give to your daily shower, the glass of water on your bedside table, your morning toilet or an opportunity to wash your hands in the current situation? World Water Day 2021 is about all the ways we value water and recognising the unexpected ways water shapes our lives. Do you know, for example, if YOUR profession is one of the 3 in 4 global jobs which depend on water (UN, 2016 UN World Water Development Report)? Water is not just a sector: it is the connector that truly makes us all a part of one global community.

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Water could mean economic empowerment and dignity to some, while others see it as the key to wellbeing and a brighter future. If we are truly striving to better appreciate water’s role, we must recognise how water flows through our ever-connected world (Cross-sectoral strategy of the 2030 Agenda). Water has enormous power, with the potential to ease or cause conflicts and displacement, create employment and education opportunities, feed our growing planet, power our cities and restore ecosystems. However, its allocation is not spread evenly. While 90% of our power generation is water intensive, half of the world’s population is already experiencing severe water scarcity at least one month a year (SDG Goals Report, 2019). As climate change intensifies and our thirsty industries consume more and more, we are leaving billions behind without access to drinking water and safe sanitation.

Explore all visuals and key messages of the campaign here.

Sustainable Development Goal 6 is a call for clean water and sanitation for all by 2030, but there is still a long way to go. Globally, 1 in 3 people currently do not have access to clean water (UN-Water 2021) while 55% cannot access a safely managed sanitation service (SDG 6 Data). The Covid-19 pandemic has also revealed how limited water access can compound threats to wellbeing: 40% of the world’s population lacks a basic handwashing facility with soap and water (2017, SDG 6 Progress Update 2021). A four-fold increase in the current rate of progress is needed to achieve universal access to safely managed sanitation by 2030 (UN-Water 2021). As we strive towards the ambitious but achievable goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, we must acknowledge that meaningful change requires radical action.

Water Dialogues for Results aims to turn the tide and bring discussions about accelerating SDG6 implementation closer to results. The GIZ supports the BMU in its contribution to the UN Water Decade with key political messages that are currently being developed together with UN member states from the global South and North as well as international representatives of all Major Groups. Side events of the regional fora and thematic discussion formats will culminate in a high-level meeting in Bonn on 1 July 2021.

If we don’t value what water does for each of us and change our patterns, water’s role as a global connector will become increasingly, and unpleasantly, visible. One foreseeable outcome is intense water scarcity caused by our ever-increasing global water consumption - scarcity that could displace as many as 700 million people by 2030 (SDG Goals Report, 2019). The good news is that World Water Day activities include an event for everyone; find the best one below to open your eyes to the value of water and join the movement pushing SDG6 and Agenda 2030 back on track.

Events during March 22nd:

March 23rd

In case you are not too familiar with the water and sanitation sector yet, consider to join the OECD Water Days (22-26 March) for a broader overview.

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