Water and climate are inextricably linked. We feel the effects of climate change mostly through water: more floods, more droughts, and more pollution. At the same time, we can tackle climate change through water, according to a joint message issued by Gilbert F. Houngbo, Chair of UN-Water and President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development, and WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas for World Water Day and World Meteorological Day.
This year, World Water Day (22 March) and World Meteorological Day (23 March) share the same theme: “Water and Climate Change”. By uniting the two international observances, the aim is to raise the profile of water in the climate debate. Given the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, there will be no official joint ceremonies, as originally planned.
UN Water has launched campaigns to mark the day, with an additional focus on Safe Hand, stressing the need for hand washing – and turning off taps at the end – to try to protect ourselves against COVID19 in line with World Health Organization recommendations.
“The UN family has come together to tackle the coronavirus pandemic, with each institution playing its part. It is also our responsibility to highlight the importance of following international and national authorities’ guidelines to prevent the virus from spreading,” said Mr Houngbo and Mr Taalas.
“One of the most effective ways to slow down transmission is to wash or sanitize our hands. However, globally three billion people do not have access to even basic hand washing facilities at home. Lack of access to clean water affects vulnerability to disease and ill health. It is especially acute among those living in extreme poverty in rural areas, as well as in informal urban settlements,” they said. […]