World Water Day 2011 Campaign Materials
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© Johnathan LiebermanInternational 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.

Each year, World Water Day highlights a specific aspect of freshwater. On this page, we present a brief overview of the different themes that have been the focus of World Water Day celebrations.

Water QualityWorld Water Day 2010



UN-Water dedicated 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 campaign was envisaged to raise awareness about sustaining healthy ecosystems and human well-being through addressing the increasing water quality challenges in water management and to 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.

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View World Water Day 2010 poster

World Water Day 2009Transboundary Waters




In 2009, the theme for World Water Day was "Shared Water - Shared Opportunities". Special focus was placed on transboundary waters. Nurturing the opportunities for cooperation in transboundary water management can help build mutual respect, understanding and trust among countries and promote peace, security and sustainable economic growth. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) lead the activities of the day with the support of United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

Visit the World Water Day 2009 web site
View World Water Day 2009 poster

World Water Day 2008Sanitation



In 2008, World Water Day coincided with the International Year of Sanitation, and challenged us to spur action on a crisis affecting more than one out of three people on the planet. Every 20 seconds, a child dies as a result of the abysmal sanitation conditions endured by some 2.6 billion people globally. That adds up to an unconscionable 1.5 million young lives cut short by a cause we know well how to prevent. Ceremonies for the day took place at Geneva, Switzerland. Speakers included Royal Highness Willem-Alexander, Prince of Orange and Director-General of WHO Dr Margaret Chan.

Visit the World Water Day 2008 web site

World Water Day 2007The growing problem of Water Scarcity was the topic for World Water Day 2007. The theme highlighted the increasing significance of water scarcity worldwide and the need for increased integration and cooperation to ensure sustainable, efficient and equitable management of scarce water resources, both at international and local levels. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Water ScarcityNations (FAO) hosted ceremonies for the daywhich included and opening address from FAO Secretary-General Jaques Diouf, and video addresses from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and Green Cross International President Michail Gorbachëv.

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Water Day 2007 web site

View World Water Day 2007 poster

World Water Day 2006The Theme of World Water Day 2006 was Water and Culture under the leadership of UNESCO.

Water and CultureThe theme 'Water and Culture' of 2006 drew the attention to the fact that there are as many ways of viewing, using, and celebrating water as there are cultural traditions across the world. Sacred, water is at the heart of many religions and is used in different rites and ceremonies. Fascinating and ephemeral, water has been represented in art for centuries - in music, painting, writing, cinema - and it is an essential factor in many scientific endeavours as well.

World Water Day 2005

The Theme of World Water Day 2005 was: Water for Life 2005 - 2015.

Water for LifeThe United Nations General Assembly at its 58th session in December 2003 agreed to proclaim the years 2005 to 2015 as the International Decade for Action, "Water for Life", and beginning with World Water Day, March 22, 2005. The Water for Life decade set the world’s goals on “a greater focus on water-related issues, while striving to ensure the participation of women in water-related development efforts, and further cooperation at all levels to achieve water-related goals of the Millennium Declaration, Johannesburg Plan of Implementation of the World Summit for Sustainable Development and Agenda 21.”

World Water Day 2004

Water and Disasters
The UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction and the World Meteorological Organization were charged with co-ordinating events for World Water Day 2004.

Water and DisastersThe message of the Day was: Weather, climate and water resources can have a devastating impact on socio-economic development and on the well-being of humankind. According to the World Meteorological Organization weather and climate-related extreme events, such as tornadoes, thunderstorms, storms, cyclones, floods and drought, account for nearly 75 per cent of all disasters. They lead to an enormous toll of human suffering, loss of life and economic damage. Monitoring these events, predicting their movements and issuing timely warnings are essential to mitigate the disastrous impact of such events on population and economy.

World Water Day

Water for the Future was the theme for World Water Day 2003. It called on each one of us to maintain and Water for the Futureimprove the quality and quantity of fresh water available to future generations. This is essential if we are to achieve the Millennium Development Goal to halve, by 2015, the number of people living without safe drinking water and basic sanitation.

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) was the the lead UN agency for World Water Day 2003. The goal was to inspire political and community action and encourage greater global understanding of the need for more responsible water use and conservation.

World Water Day

Water for Development was the theme for 2002. The Internation Atomic Energy Agency was the coordinating UN agency. The currectly poor and deteriorating state of water resources in many parts of the world demand integrated water resources planning and management.

World Water Day

Water for HealthWater for Health - Taking Charge was the theme for 2001. The WHO was the coordinating UN agency.

The message for the day was: "Concrete efforts are necessary to provide clean drinking water and improve health as well as to increase awareness world-wide of the problems and of the solutions. 22 March is a unique occasion to remind everybody that solutions are possible. Use the resources on this site to help turn words into political commitment and action.”

World Water Day

Water for the 21st Century
"The availability and quality of water is increasingly under strain. Even if conditions were to remain constant for the foreseeable future, much of the world would find itself in a state of water-related crisis. To make matters worse, populations are growing most rapidly in those areas where water is already in scarce supply”.

Water for the 21st CenturyThis is how Wim Kok, Prime Minister of the Netherlands, starts his welcome words in the second announcement for the Second World Water Forum and Ministerial Conference that began in the Netherlands in the week prior to 22 March 2000.

From 17–22 March 2000, hundreds of water specialists, politicians, leading experts and top officials from all across the globe convened in The Hague. The event marked the conclusion to a long series of sessions during which thousands of concerned citizens addressed the water crisis that threatens us all.

World Water Day

Everyone lives downstreamEveryone Lives Downstream
Excessive flooding of major rivers in the world in 1998 have resulted in thousands of deaths and caused enormous damage in China, Bangladesh, and India, where nearly half of the world population lives. They were not only the result of excessive rains, but also of interference by mankind in the river basins. These tragedies make us realize that virtually everybody in this world lives downstream. UNEP was the coordinating UN agency.

World Water Day

GroundwaterGroundwater - The Invisible Resource
The sixth annual World Water Day (WWD) was celebrated on 22 March 1998. As per the recommendations of the 17th meeting of the ACC Sub-Committee on Water Resources, UNICEF and the United Nations Division of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), took the lead in organizing the observance of World Water Day in 1998.

World Water Day

The Worlds Water - Is there Enough
The message of the day was: Water is a basic requirement for all life, yet water resources are facing more and more demands from, and competition among, users.

World Water Day

The 3rd annual World Water Day was celebrated on March 22, 1996, with the theme, Water for Thirsty Cities. It emphasized the growing water crisis faced by cities across the world which threatens the sustainability of their social and economic development.

World Water Day

Women and WaterFor the first time Lesotho celebrated the "World Day for Water", on March 22, 1995. The international theme for the day was 'Women and Water'. The Department of Water Affairs organized two main activities for the celebration of the Day: on water pollution and on environmental degradation.

World Water Day

The Theme of World Water Day 1994 was 'Caring for Our Water Resources is Everyone's Business'

 
Additional reading
Un-Water
UN-HABITAT
Un-Water
World Water Day 2010
World Water Day 2009
World Water Day 2008
World Water Day 2007
Additional reading
UnHabitat  World Water Day 2011: Advocacy Guide and Action Handbook
(2.4MB PDF)
UnHabitat  World Water Day 2011: Second Announcement
(4.1MB PDF)
UnHabitat  State of the World's Cities 2010/2011 - Cities for All: Bridging the Urban Divide
(16MB PDF)
UnHabitat  Solid Waste Management in the World's Cities: Water and Sanitation in the World's Cities 2010 (12.9MB PDF)
UNW-DPAC

Water and Cities - Reader (185Kb PDF)

UNW-DPAC

Water and Cities - Facts and Figures (162Kb PDF)

English | Español

UNW-DPAC

Water and Cities - Facts and Figures - A Snapshot (162Kb PDF)

UNW-DPAC

Water and Cities (Media Brief 79Kb PDF)

English | Español

UNW-DPAC

Water and Urbanization (Media Brief 129Kb PDF)

English | Español

UNW-DPAC

Cities Coping With Water Uncertainties (Media Brief 129Kb PDF)

English | Español

UNW-DPAC

Water Quality and Sanitation (Media Brief 125Kb PDF)

English | Español

UNW-DPAC

Cities and Their Rural Surroundings (Media Brief 123Kb PDF)

English | Español

UNW-DPAC

Water Safety in Buildings (790Kb PDF)