Sustainable Development Goal #6 is crystal clear: water for all by 2030. By definition, this means leaving no one behind. But today, billions of people are still living without safe water – their households, schools, workplaces, farms and factories struggling to survive and thrive.
Marginalized groups – women, children, refugees, indigenous peoples, disabled people and many others – are often overlooked, and sometimes face discrimination, as they try to access and manage the safe water they need.
This World Water Day, 22nd March, is about tackling the water crisis by addressing the reasons why so many people are being left behind.
The UN Refugee Agency’s annual Global Trends study found 68.5 million people had been driven from their homes across the world at the end of 2017, more people than the population of Thailand. Refugees who have fled their countries to escape conflict and persecution accounted for 25.4 million. This is 2.9 million more than in 2016, also the biggest increase the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has ever seen in a single year.
New displacement is also growing, with 16.2 million people displaced during 2017 itself, either for the first time or repeatedly. That is an average of one person displaced every two seconds. And overwhelmingly, it is developing countries that are most affected.
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So, what can you do about it? The theme for World Water Day 2019 is ‘Leaving no one behind’. To ‘leave no one behind’, we must focus our efforts towards including people who have been marginalized or ignored. Water services must meet the needs of marginalized groups and their voices must be heard in decision-making processes. Regulatory and legal frameworks must recognize the right to water for all people, and sufficient funding must be fairly and effectively targeted at those who need it most.
Here’s how to get involved:
1. Share: Use or adapt campaign materials on your social media channels.
Engage your friends and contacts with information and stories about the reality of the water crisis and how it affects every aspect of society.
2. Act: Organize an event or activity.
Gather people together to share ideas and make them grow. Hold or attend an event to make personal connections that could make a difference to people living without safe water.
Go to www.worldwaterday.org/events to see where a World Water Day event is taking place near you and find out how you could hold an event yourself.