World Water Day 2019 – 22nd March - focuses on the themes ‘leaving no one behind’ and water as a human right for everyone. Belgium will also organize several events for this occasion.
Every year on the 22nd March, we celebrate World Water Day, an international day dedicated entirely to water. With World Water Day, the UN wants to draw attention to the impact of water on development and to the importance of water for the common good.
The theme this year – leaving no one behind – is in line with SDG6, one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals: water for everyone by 2030. The last few years, more and more people have gained access to drinkable water and more importance has been attributed to the proper management of water-delivery systems. Nevertheless, millions of people are still living without safe water today.
In order to ‘leave no one behind’, we should direct our efforts towards marginalized groups as women, children, refugees, indigenous peoples and persons with a disability.
Marginalized groups - women, children, refugees, indigenous peoples, persons with a disability and many others – are often overlooked. Sometimes they are even downright discriminated against, solely because they are trying to get access to the water they need. These groups in the margin also suffer more from factors such as environmental degradation, climate change, population growth, conflict, forced displacement and migration, all with a serious impact on water.
In order to ‘leave no one behind’, we should direct our efforts towards these marginalized groups. Water services should keep into account their needs and their voice should be heard by policy-makers. Regulatory and legal frameworks should recognize the right to water for everyone. Finally, we should provide an adequate amount of funding effectively targeted at those who need it the most.
During World Water Day, events are organized all over the world to raise awareness on worldwide issues regarding water. Belgium also has several events planned on the subject. In our country, inter alia, Protos – an NGO specialized in water – is leading sensitization activities that aim to turn ‘water’ into a political theme. Protos will also get a new name on World Water Day 2019: Join For Water.
One of the initiatives in Belgium is Wereldwaterdag@school. In 2019 the emphasis is on the water we all indirectly consume through products and materials such as a simple T-shirt. The campaign of Wereldwaterdag@school is therefore called ‘Everyone Water Carrier’. On average Belgians use about 100 liters of tap water a day, but that only counts for direct consumption. We use a lot more through indirect consumption, on average 7400 liters of water per person per day! In order to make one sole T-shirt, over 2700 liters of water are needed. In other words, when you are wearing a T-shirt, you are also wearing hundreds of liters of valuable water! Water that is no longer available as drinking water for people who are in need of it. On World Water Day classes and schools collect T-shirts and give them a second life.
On Thursday 21th March, one day before World Water Day, the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) organizes a 6 kilometer long demonstration from Saint-Gilles to Rogier: the Water4Climate-mars!