World Water Day: Accelerating Change Shannon Walsh (2022-23 College Ambassador from the University of Iowa)
World Water Day is recognized every year on March 22nd. This day is intended to highlight the importance of regular access to clean water to support every aspect of human life and achieve better physical and social conditions for people around the world. The theme of this year’s observance is “accelerating change”, in order to draw attention to the rapid uptake in effort required by nations to meet the Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG 6). This goal is dedicated to promoting access to clean water and sanitation. Some of the most pressing issues preventing the achievement of this goal by 2030 are misuse, scarcity caused by climate change, and poor cooperation over transboundary waters. These challenges will only worsen as demand for water continues to increase in the decades ahead.
There are currently 2 billion people in the world without access to safe drinking water, and 3.6 billion who lack access to safe sanitation. Most of these people live in rural areas of the world, and half in the least developed countries. Without access to clean water and sanitation, individuals and communities are at higher risk of disease, face more barriers to attending school and work, and are at more risk of hunger. To improve the conditions of one of the most basic human rights, countries will have to begin working four times faster than their current rate to meet the 2030 target for SDG 6.
In order to get countries on track to meeting goals for clean water and sanitation, the UN 2023 Water Conference will be taking place March 22-24 in New York. At this conference, various actors and stakeholders—from local individuals to foreign government officials—will make voluntary commitments that will accelerate meeting SDG 6 and other water-related international goals and targets. The commitments formulated at the conference will make up the Water Action Agenda. The agenda will be focused on accelerated implementation and improved impact of efforts in every sector to meet clean water and sanitation goals. Participants will be encouraged to think outside the box, providing new and innovative strategies for delivering a better future.
You can participate in World Water Day by making a personal commitment or getting involved within your community to evaluate how you use your water sources and make changes that will benefit the world in the long run. Explore here to learn about ways you can be the change you want to see in the world.