Since the United Nations first held World Water Day in 1993, the 22 of March raises awareness every year of our most vital resource for all life and its special characteristics. The theme of the 2021 World Water Day is “Valuing Water”. With this annual theme, the UN wants to motivate people to reflect on the value of water and the essential role it plays in our lives. Its worth extends far beyond financial value, encompassing environmental, social and cultural dimensions.
Water is the basis of all life and an indispensable resource. Against the backdrop of challenges such as climate change, changes in our consumption patterns and population growth, the aim is to raise awareness about the role of water and the services provided by it in all areas of human life and for biodiversity. Water is a limited resource whose value we first need to recognise in order to be able to cherish and protect it.
The UN Water Action Decade was proclaimed at the 66th United Nations General Assembly in December 2016 for the period from 22 March 2018 to March 2028. The UN Water Action Decade pursues two main goals:
- improving the dissemination of knowledge on the topic of water and water pollution control, including information on the water-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) outlined in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development;
- improving communication to achieve water-related goals.
The German government is also doing its part to support this initiative. Not only has it launched a national dialogue on water held over a two-year period, it also takes part in an international water dialogue on the sustainable management of water resources and water bodies. On behalf of the German government, the BMU launched the international Water Dialogues for Results, which will be held from February to July 2021 with UN member states from the global North and South and international Major Groups. The Water Dialogues for Results will be concluded with a high-level ministerial meeting on 1 July 2021. The momentum generated by the UN Water Action Decade will thus be made use of to trigger change in the way water is perceived globally.
World Water Day and the UN Water Action Decade should be regarded in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its water-related goals, adopted by the UN member states in 2015, particularly SDG 6 “Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all”.
World Water Day is aimed at raising widespread public awareness of these global goals, their local impacts and the challenges related to their implementation. The goal is to motivate people to support implementing action. All countries are invited to use World Water Day to implement the UN recommendation and carry out appropriate initiatives at national level. Further information on World Water Day is available on the UN website.
Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 "Clean Water and Sanitation. Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all."
Each year, the United Nations selects a different theme for World Water Day.
|2020||"Water and Climate Change"|
|2019||"Leaving no one behind – water and sanitation for all"|
|2018||Nature for Water|
|2016||Water and Jobs|
|2015||Water and Sustainable Development|
|2014||Water and Energy|
|2012||Water and Food Security|
|2011||Water for Cities: Responding to the Urban Challenge|
|2010||Clean Water for a Healthy World|
|2009||Shared Water – Shared Opportunities|
|2007||Coping with Water Scarcity|
|2006||Water and Culture|
|2005||Water for Life 2005 – 2015|
|2004||Water and Disasters|
|2003||Water for the Future|
|2002||Water for Development|
|2001||Water and Health|
|2000||Water for the 21st Century|
|1999||Everyone Lives Downstream|
|1998||Groundwater: the Invisible Resource|
|1997||The World’s Water: Is There Enough?|
|1996||Water for Thirsty Cities|
|1995||Women and Water|
|1994||Caring for Our Water Resources is Everyone’s Business|
Every year on World Water Day on 22 March, the Federal Environment Agency selects a water body type of the year. The water body of the year 2021 is the "geschichtete Alpensee" (stratified Alpine lake). This is a lake type found in the Alps and Alpine forelands in Germany.