Every year on 22 March, the international community celebrates World Water Day, a day to draw global attention to the water challenge and renew commitments to safeguard the planet’s most vital resource.
This year the theme is sustainable development, highlighting how water links to all the essential elements – health, nature, food, industry, energy, urbanisation, equality – of a safe and sustainable future.
Sustainable water management underpins all of the goals of the new, post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda. Without water, there is no life, no health, no development. And at the foundation of all these benefits lies nature, healthy ecosystems such as river basins, wetlands and forests.
“Nature filters toxins, buffers against storms, and stores water. Healthy and robust ecosystems form the backbone of a sustainable water future,” says Dr Mark Smith, Director of the IUCN Global Water Programme.
Solutions do exist and great progress has been made in the past decade in tackling challenges such as the interdependence of water, energy and food security, transboundary water cooperation, climate resilience, and water infrastructure development.
“So now is the time for implementation, for adopting the solutions we know of and to move forward with innovations and tools at hand, as well as seize the opportunities that exist to accelerate progress,” adds Dr Smith.
This year, UN Water – which leads World Water Day – is promoting the campaign ‘WaterIs’ (#wateris) by encouraging people across the world to share how they see water and what it means to them.
“Water is everything,” says IUCN’s Director General, Inger Andersen. “An estimated US$ 6.5 trillion is contributed annually to the global economy by water infrastructure services such as wetlands, lakes and rivers. These services need to be safeguarded and nurtured to ensure continued benefits for people and nature.”
IUCN has gathered valuable lessons and knowledge about the implementation of water solutions which can be shared and scaled-up and will be promoting these at the 2015 World Water Forum in South Korea, 12-18 April. The event acts as a stepping-stone towards global collaboration on water challenges, bringing together the water community and policy makers from all regions of the world to find joint solutions.
For more information on implementation of water solutions, please visit www.waterandnature.org