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Speed Dating Event to Celebrate World Water Day

At the initiative of members of the Geneva Environment Network (GEN) working with water issues, the GEN Secretariat organized a water speed dating event at the International Environment House on 24 March, to mark this year’s World Water Day. Most of the actors involved with water issues at the global level based in the Geneva region were present to expose their main activities (Water Convention | UNECE, Global Water Solidarity | UNDP, Natural Capital Declaration | UNEP FI, WMO, WSSCC, Ramsar Convention, IUCN Water Programme, WBCSD Water Team, Green Cross International, International Rainwater Harvesting Alliance, Water Lex, World Vision International, Platform for International Water Law | University of Geneva).


In her opening remarks, Daniella Bostrom, UN-Water communications manager, recalled that most of the organizations present at the International Environment House are the ones who have made the World Water Day campaign of 22 March a huge success. Their devotion shows that water issues are more pressing than ever before and that Geneva is a hub for such issues.


This event was also the occasion to remember that the UN-Water led campaign for World Water Day has two aims: raise awareness and inspire action. One of the major goals of this specific World Water Day campaign was to contribute to water being presented as a stand‐alone goal for the negotiations that will happen this year on the post‐2015 development agenda. In September of this year, world leaders will meet at the United Nations to endorse the post‐Millennium Goals to guide the priorities of countries for the next 15 years. These Goals will provide a framework for action and their impact will be felt for decades to come. According to UN-Water, we can only applaud the work that has been done up until now to ensure that there is a goal devoted exclusively to water and sanitation.


To ensure that a large set of stakeholders understand what water and sustainable development mean, a website and a social media campaign were created, inviting people to learn more, teach others, and send what water means to them under the hashtag #WaterIs. UN-Water got thousands of entries from people around the world, including World Leaders and Celebrities.


Setting a goal and being aware is one step, but making it work across the water cycle and across political boundaries are two significant challenges. This is why the various actors need to work together to ensure that in addition to the political will, we have the most up to date information, the financing needed, the technological capacity and the global architecture to ensure that we succeed. Everyone has a role to play here: civil society, governments, academia, private sector, the UN. We should do whatever it takes to strive for a present where there is justice and a future where there is opportunity.


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