World Water Day: Leveraging Water for Peace

World Water Day. Image credit: WMO

World Water Day. Image credit: WMO

With a core focus of World Water Day on March 22 to support the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 6: water and sanitation for all by 2030, this year’s theme is Leveraging Water for Peace. 

This is because water can create peace or spark conflict and peaceful cooperation across borders and sectors has proven to generate benefits that accelerate progress across Sustainable Development Goals including delivering safe drinking water and sanitation, enhancing food security, sustaining healthy livelihoods and ecosystems, helping to address resilience to climate change, contributing to disaster risk reduction, providing renewable energy, supporting cities and industry, and fostering regional integration and peace.

Considering transboundary cooperation essential for creating conditions for investment and security to enhance preparedness for protecting ecosystems and human health, especially critical conditions of drought, flood or accidental pollution.

Out of 153 countries that share rivers, lakes and aquifers with their neighbours, only 24 countries report having cooperation agreements for all their shared water, according to UN Water. 

With an increase of climate change impacting the population growth, there is an urgent need to cooperate around protecting water, build vital resilience to extreme weather events, help adapt to a changing climate, to promote public health and prosperity, food and energy systems, economic productivity and environmental integrity.

“The most recent WMO State of Global Water Resources report shows how the hydrological cycle is spinning out of balance as a result of climate change and human activities…wreaking a heavy toll on lives, economies, and ecosystems…the State of the Global Climate Report 2023 highlighted…This loss, combined with record ocean warming, is contributing to the rate of sea level rise doubling since measurements began,” WMO Secretary-General Celeste Saulo told a special World Water Day event, co-organized by WMO, the Permanent Mission of Slovenia, Geneva Water Hub, and UNECE at WMO headquarters.

Right before the ceremony in Geneva, Celeste Saulo signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Global Water Partnership’s Executive Secretary Alan Atkisson to confirm the continuation of the partnership, including on these two important joint WMO – GWP programs. 

A high-level event, “Celebrating World Water Day 2024: Covering Efforts, Keeping the Momentum of Progress,” is being held at the UN Headquarters in New York, USA. Representatives of countries, UN entities, financial institutions, international organizations, academia, civil society, the private sector, and other stakeholders are invited to participate in the event.

The panel for the ceremony will include: H.E. Mr. Dennis Francis, President of the 78th session of the General Assembly, H.E. Mr. Sirojiddin Muhriddin, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Tajikistan, H.E. Prof. Dwikorita Karnawati, Minister for Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics, and Permanent Representative of the Republic of Indonesia to the World Meteorological Organization, H.E. Jaap Slootmaker, Vice Minister for Infrastructure and Water of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and Mr. Li Junhua, Under Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs.