Harm Due to Underinvestment in Water Unacceptable, Secretary-General Stresses, in Message for World Day Observance
Following is UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ message for World Water Day, observed on 22 March:
This year’s World Water Day, with the theme “Valuing water”, asks: What does water mean to me? The value of water is profound and complex. There is no aspect of sustainable development that does not fundamentally rely upon it.
For me, water means protection. A well-managed water cycle — encompassing drinking water, sanitation, hygiene, wastewater, transboundary governance, the environment and more — means a defence against ill-health and indignity and a response to challenges from a changing climate and increasing global demand.
This World Water Day, we want to record and understand as many views as possible, so decision-makers are better informed and equipped to safeguard this human right for every person and every purpose.
Today, we are not on track to ensure everyone has access to water and sanitation by 2030, as set out in Sustainable Development Goal 6. While advances are being made, current progress needs to quadruple to achieve universal access. Chronic underinvestment in water and sanitation disadvantages and harms vast numbers of people. This is unacceptable.
I am encouraged by the joint statement signed by some 160 countries during the United Nations high-level meeting on water on 18 March. This shows a strong commitment to advancing all water-related aspects of the Sustainable Development Goals.
On this World Water Day, let us commit to intensifying efforts to truly valuing water so all may have equitable access to this most precious resource.