History of World Water Day

History of World Water Day

International World Water Day grew out of the Earth Summit that was held in Rio de Janeiro June 3-14, 1992 and sponsored by the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED).

The main theme of the Earth Summit was the Environment and Sustainable Development.

It was attended by 108 heads of state with 172 governments participating and 2,400 NGOs (non-government organizations) around the world. An international day to celebrate freshwater was recommended at the Earth Summit; and the United Nation’s General Assembly designated March 22, 1993 as the first World Water Day.

International World Water Day has been held every year since on March 22 with a different theme based on water, ecology, the environment, women, economics, production, and sustainability. The themes each year were

1994 – Caring for our Water Resources is Everyone’s Business

1995 – Women and Water

1996 – Water for Thirsty Cities

1997 – The World’s Water, Is there enough?

1998 – Groundwater, The Invisible Resource

1999 – Everyone Lives Downstream

2000 – Water for the 21st Century

2001 – Water and Health

2002 – Water for Development

2003 – Water for the Future

2004 – Water and Disasters

2005 – Water for Life

2006 – Cultural Traditions using Water

2007 – Coping with Water Scarcity

2008 – Sanitation

2009 – Transboundary Waters

Each year World Water Day is organized and officiated by a branch of the United Nations. This year the main organizer is the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) with contributing organizers being the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

Past sponsoring and contributing organizations have been UNICEF, the United Nations Division of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), WHO, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations Strategy for Disaster Reduction, the World Meteorological Organization, and the United Nations Water Task Force on Sanitation.

The first Earth Summit created the backdrop and framework for future environmentally based programs that found their basis in pure, clean, available freshwater.

1) Agenda 21

2) Rio Declaration on Environment and Development

3) statement of Forest Principles

4) the United Nations Framework convention on Climate Change

5) the United Nations convention on Biological Diversity

Environmental impact on economic conditions was recognized and this Summit sought to make governments aware of their responsibilities to all people the world over regarding poverty, economic development, and “excessive consumption by affluent populations” which help in the destruction of the environment.

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) was set up in 1991 to provide funding in the areas of

* climate change

* loss of biodiversity

* pollution of international waters

* depletion of the ozone layer

Highlights of past International World water Days are

* the emphasis of water pollution and environmental degradation at World Water Day 1995

* recommendations of the 17th meeting of the ACC Sub-committee on Water Resources

* recognition that half the world’s population iwas nvolved personally in water crises in the countries of China, Bangladesh, and India through excessive rains and flooding

* the second World Water Forum and ministerial conference in the Netherlands in March 17-22, 2000

* the United Nations General Assembly – 58th session on December 2003 proclaimed 2005 to 2015 the International Decade for Action

* the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation of the World Summit for Sustainable Development and Agenda 21 in 2005

* the International Year of Sanitation launched on World Water Day 2008

Today there is widespread concern about the world water supply, due to natural disasters, population increases, and the lack of concern and awareness by governments, citizens and the people worldwide that are able to do a better job at helping to keep our waters clean, our lands unpolluted, and the air breathable.

World Water Day 2009 recognizes the need for greater cooperation between nations to improve water situations worldwide where water is shared by up to 18 countries.