Clean water for a healthy world
Addressing water quality challenges and solutions
An Advocacy Guide and Action Handbook
“Safe drinking water and adequate sanitation are crucial for poverty reduction, crucial for sustainable development, and crucial for achieving any and every one of the Millennium Development Goals.”
Secretary-General of the United Nations
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
International World Water Day is held annually on 22 March as a means of focusing attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources.
An international day to celebrate freshwater was recommended at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED). The United Nations General Assembly responded by designating 22 March 1993 as the first World Water Day.
2. The World Water Day 2010 : Water Quality
UN-Water is dedicating World Water Day 2010 to the theme of water quality, reflecting its importance alongside quantity of the resource in water management.
The World Water Day 2010 and its campaign is envisaged to:
• Raise awareness about sustaining healthy ecosystems and human well-being through addressing the increasing water quality challenges in water management
• Raise the profile of water quality by encouraging governments, organizations, communities, and individuals around the world to actively engage in proactively addressing water quality e.g. in pollution prevention, clean up and restoration
• Promote innovative solutions to reduce the threats on water quality
• Facilitate dialogue between stakeholders on water quality, World Water Day actions and the steps to be taken in the post-World Water Day period.
World Water Day 2010 activities aim to communicate messages on water quality, ecosystems and human well-being.
• World Water Day 2010 website
• communication and outreach materials
• key publications
• flagship initiatives around water quality
• a global event on water quality around 22 March 2010
• a policy dialogue for global commitment to address water quality, ecosystems, and human well-being challenges at key global political events
• outreach for action to address water quality challenges at other key conferences and campaigns
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is the focal point for the World Water Day 2010. UNEP, UN-Habitat and the UN Secretary General’s Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation (UNSGAB) coordinate the organization of the World Water Day 2010 campaign on behalf of UN-Water. FAO, UNDP, UNECE, UNICEF, UNESCO, WHO, and the UN-Water Decade Programme on Advocacy and Communication (UNW-DPAC) as well as partner organizations like International Water Association, World Wide Fund for Nature and World Water Council all collaborate closely with the four organizing institutions.
3. Aims of the Advocacy Guide
The aims of this guide are:
• to help to communicate the purpose and aim of the World Water Day;
• to introduce key issues relevant to water: the current challenges and situation, some facts and figures; and
• to introduce key issues relevant to the theme of the WWD2010: Water Quality.
To whom is the WWD2010 campaign directed?
• World Water Day 2010 is a global campaign to encourage worldwide action to raise awareness and promote actions in the field of water quality.
• To turn this challenge into successful activity we need inspired actions from all sectors, all over the world. To do this, we need to work together and communicate consistently. We are providing communication tools and ideas to help you as active
partners, whether you are an organization, a country representative or an interested individual, to motivate others to take action as well. And we would like to learn from your experience.
4. Message guidelines
a. Slogan and key messages
The 2010 World Water Day slogan is “Clean Water for a Healthy World” and communicates on the following key messages:
On World Water Day, we reaffirm that clean water is life, and our lives depend on how we protect the quality of our water.
Water quality: healthy people, healthy ecosystems
1. Water quality is key to human and ecosystem health. However, lack of awareness on water quality issues and lack of capacity to safeguard water quality are major hurdles in addressing the problem.
2. There are numerous add-on benefits to improving water quality: improved ecosystems and ecosystem services, improved health, and improved livelihoods.
Water quality is about sustainability
1. Compared to water quantity/scarcity, water quality issues are less well understood, underfunded, and not adequately addressed by policy makers. However, water quality is inextricably linked with water quantity.
2. Everyone is both affected by and affects water quality.
Water quality by numbers
1. Money invested in water and sanitation projects typically has a very high rate of return.
2. Clean water is an essential ingredient to economic growth and development.
3. Preventing water contamination is typically cheaper than cleaning up water after contamination.
Water quality in a changing world
1. Climate change will exacerbate current water quality problems.
2. New contaminants threaten water quality and human and ecosystem health.
Water quality requires action
To achieve and maintain water quality, clear policy objectives and active management are required.
When looking at the thematic areas – i.e. human health (domestic); production (agriculture, industry, mining); ecosystem health (pollution) – most of the messages are “cross-cutting,” but two messages are linked to specifically one area:
• Human health: Money invested in water and sanitation projects typically has a very high rate of return.
• Production: Clean water is an essential ingredient to economic growth and development.
b. Key facts
• Diarrhoea is the 2nd highest single cause of child mortality after pneumonia (WHO, 2005).
• Nearly one in five child deaths – about 1.5 million each year – is due to diarrhoea (UNICEF/WHO, 2009).
• Diarrhoea kills more young children than AIDS, malaria and measles combined (UNICEF/WHO, 2009).
• Point-of-use water treatment alone can reduce diarrhoeal morbidity by 39% (Fewtrell et al., 2005).
• The bacteriological quality of drinking water significantly declines after collection in many settings, and this decline is proportionately greater where faecal and total coliform counts in source water are low (Wright et al., 2004).
• Household interventions are more effective in preventing diarrhoea than those at the source (Clasen et al., 2006).
• The annual number of diarrhoeal cases that could be avoided by universal point-of-use water treatment is estimated to be 1.9 billion (Hutton and Haller, 2004).
• Almost 1 billion school days a year could be gained due to reduced diarrhoeal illness as a result of universal point-of-use water treatment (Hutton and Haller, 2004).
• Globally, over 130 million people are now estimated to be potentially exposed to arsenic in drinking water at concentrations above the WHO guideline value of 10 ?g/l (UNICEF, 2008).
• Groundwaters with high fluoride concentrations occur in many areas of the world including large parts of Africa, China, the Eastern Mediterranean and Southern Asia (Fawell et al., 2006).