Water for Peace

Co-operating on water creates a positive ripple effect that fosters harmony, generates prosperity and builds resilience to shared challenges. World Water Day 2024 (WWD) is March 22 and this year’s theme is Water for Peace.



“We must act upon the realization that water is not only a resource to be used and competed over – it is a human right, intrinsic to every aspect of life,” reads the United Nations (UN) website. “This World Water Day, we all need to unite around water and use water for peace, laying the foundations of a more stable and prosperous tomorrow.”


WWD raises awareness and inspires action to tackle the globe’s water and sanitation crisis. It became a UN observance day in 1993 and seeks to focus attention on the global water crisis and raise awareness of the 2.2 billion people living without access to safe water.


“Water can create peace or spark conflict. When water is scarce or polluted, or when people have unequal, or no access, tensions can rise between communities and countries,” stated the United Nations in a release. “More than three billion people worldwide depend on water that crosses national borders. Yet, only 24 countries have co-operation agreements for all their shared water.”


As climate change impacts increase, and populations grow, there is an urgent need, within and between countries, to unite around protecting and conserving this resource. Public health and prosperity, food and energy systems, economic productivity and environmental integrity all rely on a well-functioning and equitably managed water cycle.


Did you know?


– 2.2 billion people still live without safely managed drinking water, including 115 million people who drink surface water.


– Roughly half of the world’s population is experiencing severe water scarcity for at least part of the year.


– Water-related disasters have dominated the list of disasters over the past 50 years and account for 70 per cent of all deaths related to natural disasters. 


– Transboundary waters account for 60 per cent of the world’s freshwater flows, and 153 countries have territory within at least one of the 310 transboundary river and lake basins and inventoried 468 transboundary aquifer systems.


– Only 24 countries report that all their transboundary basins are covered by co-operation arrangements.


Key messages for WWD 2024


– Water can create peace or spark conflict. When water is scarce or polluted, or when people struggle for access, tensions can rise. By co-operating on water, we can balance everyone’s water needs and help stabilize the world.


– Prosperity and peace rely on water. As nations manage climate change, mass migration and political unrest, they must put water co-operation at the heart of their plans.


– Water can lead us out of crisis. We can foster harmony between communities and countries by uniting around the fair and sustainable use of water – from United Nations conventions at the international level to actions at the local level.


“We need everyone – from individuals and families to companies and governments – to do what they can to co-operate on water and pave the way for a more harmonious society,” stated the UN.


Download resources to get involved this World Water Day and find out more about the connection between water and peace by visiting www.un.org.


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