Climate, Environment & Energy

World Water Day: sustainable water and sanitation for all is key

22/03/2018 - 15:58
News stories

How many of us take water for granted? If we turn on the tap and no water comes out, we panic, even if there is simply no hot water but only cold water, we panic… Water is an essential building block of life. Access to water, in particular safe drinking water, is a fundamental right, yet, it is still a challenge in many parts of the world.

This is why on World Water Day, the EU reaffirms that all States are expected to fulfil their obligations regarding access to safe drinking water, which must be available, accessible, safe, acceptable, and affordable for all without discrimination, and recalls that the right to safe drinking water is a human right essential for the full enjoyment of life and all human rights.

This year the UN's theme for World Water Day is "Nature for Water". Environmental damage, together with climate change, is driving the water-related crises around the world. Floods, drought and water pollution are all made worse by degraded vegetation, soil, rivers and lakes. As the declaration by the EU on World Water Day quotes, "Already, one of Africa’s largest lakes, Lake Chad, has decreased by 90 per cent as a result of climate change, over use of water and extended drought. The reduction has destroyed livelihoods and led to the loss of invaluable biodiversity. The UN Security Council has also recognized the adverse effects of climate change and ecological changes among other factors on the stability of the Lake Chad region."


Furthermore, the 2017 Report of the Global High Level Panel on Water and Peace has acknowledged, water is not only a driver of social and economic development but also of peace and security. The availability of water is one of the key factors that can lead to conflicts and mass displacements.  As cooperation increases resilience and stability by preventing conflicts and consolidating peace, the EU will continue to promote global accession to the UNECE Water Convention, and share with its partners its long experience in the sustainable management of shared water resources. 

Sustainable Development Goal 6 of the UN – ensuring availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by 2030 - includes a target to halve the proportion of untreated wastewater and increase water recycling and safe reuse. The EU will continue to support sustainable water management through its cooperation with key partner countries in policy dialogues, development cooperation, multi-stakeholder partnerships and through a strategic approach to regional development.

Promoting and protecting access to fundamental resources means promoting and protecting the rights and the security not only of the present, but also of the future generations.



Photos: AFP