In 1992 at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio De Janeiro created a set of recommendations contained in chapter 18 (Fresh Water Resources) of Agenda 21, and World Water Day was the initiative that was derived from this agenda. The United Nations General Assembly following this initiative designated March 22 of each and every year to be designated as the World Day for Water by adopting a resolution. States were then invited to devote this day to implement UN recommendations and set up activities that were in the context of this resolution.
For World Water Day 2011 the theme of the day is “Water for cities: responding to the urban challenge”, which aims to set it’s focus for the international community to focus attention on the impact on urban water systems of factors such as rapid urban population growth, industrialization, conflicts, natural disasters and the uncertainties created by climate change. It’s goal also includes the encouragement of governments, organizations, communities, and individuals to actively engage in addressing water quality through urban water management.
In the future, in just a little over a generation, 60 percent of the global population will be massed in towns and cities, with most of the increase expected to take place within inner city slums and squatter settlements of the developing nations, which is why “Water for Cities” was chosen as this years theme, as it will be a major challenge going forward. Over the past ten years, those who lack access to tap water in their home in urban settings has increased by an estimated 114 million people, while those lacking access to the most basic sanitation facilities has increased by 134 million people, which equates to an 20 percent increase. This increase has obviously had an obvious negative impact on human health as well as on economic productivity, as more people are getting sick from water problems and are not able to work.
In the United States, recent budget woes has shifted some priorities away from environmental issues and put more focus on profits and business, and has the new Republican led Congress giving more scrutiny to the EPA Water Quality Guidelines, along with air quality and pollution. So big agriculture is against clean water apparently, and other various businesses. Apparently they want to make Florida’s water less clean in favor of jobs, according to the The Miami Herald Blog. Not a big surprise, as profits and jobs always seem to trump the environment, ecology, and human health and welfare. Lets not let them (Tea Party – Republicans) use their scare tactics to make us settle for lower clean water standards in the name of Wall Street profits! At next years UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, or Rio + 20, water issues will be of major concern and be highlighted.
There are many events for World Water Day 2011, and here is a list of Events for WWD 2011 and at the UN World Water Day 2011 Worldwide Events Page. The Secretary General for the United Nations urges governments to recognize the urban water crisis for what it truly is, which is a crisis of governance, weak policies and poor management, rather than one of scarcity. He also urges us to pledge to reverse the alarming decline in pro poor investment in water and sanitation and reaffirm the commitment to ending the plight of the 800 million plus people whom still don’t have access to safe drinking water or the sanitation that they need to obtain a life in dignity and good health. So peace my friends and happy WWD 2011!