Exactly one month late, but Happy World Water Day Everyone!
Every year, I celebrate World Water Day on this blog by writing about the current state of water. I have to admit, my past “celebrations” have been quite critical and bleak.
You can check for yourself:
This year, I want to be more hopeful and more positive. I want to look to the future.
By now you’ve all heard about the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and have them all memorized by heart.
(If not, here’s a little reminder: UN Sustainable Development Goals)
Goal #6 is “Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.” That’s ALL the people in the world, having safe drinking water and effective wastewater handling, by the year 2030.
Ambitious? Yes. Exciting? Very Yes!
In the year 2000, the world embarked on the Millennium Development Goals. The goal for water was to “halve the number of people without access to safe drinking water and sanitation” by the year 2015. The result? Not only did we succeed, we reached this goal 5 years early (In fact, water was the first MDG to be reached!). By the year 2010, nearly 2 billion people had gained access to improved water sources. By the year 2015, that number was up to 2.6 billion. Sanitation was improved for 2.1 billion people.
The SDG aims to build on this progress by providing the remaining population with water and sanitation. Can it be done? We’ve done it before. But, how? During the MDG, we saw that there was no one magic formula or model, that activities of all types and all scales made significant impacts where implemented. We also saw that individual citizens were the drivers of this progress. From supporting grassroots NPOs to pressuring and guiding government policies, progress was driven by our common understanding that water is essential for health, and when our neighbors are healthy, we are healthy. (It is also a basic human right).
To get us started on the path to this future, 2018 is the start of the Water Action Decade. During the next ten years, the UN and its member countries will further strengthen cooperation for water development. But actions aren’t limited to big international development banks. Support your local NPOs or just spread the word. Here are some links to get started: