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World Water Day 2008

The international observance of World Water Day is an initiative that grew out of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro. The United Nations General Assembly designated March 22 of each year as the World Day for Water.

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.

»Read the full text of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message on World Water Day

The root of this underlying catastrophe lies in these plain, grim facts: 4 of every 10 people in the world do not have access to even a simple pit latrine and nearly 2 in 10 have no source of safe drinking-water.

2008 is the International Year of Sanitation

»Learn 10 things you should know about sanitation

"We shall not finally defeat AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, or any of the other infectious diseases that plague the developing world until we have also won the battle for safe drinking-water, sanitation and basic health care.”  Kofi Annan, former United Nations Secretary-General

»Download and read World Water for Life, a booklet about the purpose and aim of the UN International Decade for Action Water for Life 2005–2015. It introduces key issues relevant to water: the current challenges and situation, some facts and figures.

»Read news from the International Water and Sanitation Centre

»Learn the five steps for planning and evaluating World Water Day activities (PDF download)

»Find out how the water and sanitation crises affect girls the most


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