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It’s March, which means that Spring is upon us, a time of year that is symbolic of new beginnings! 
It is only appropriate that March also sees us celebrate World Water Day, which is held on the 22nd of March, to raise awareness of the importance of fresh water and of achieving world-wide equality when it comes to having access to clean water! 
World Water Day was first observed in 1993, the previous year’s United Nation’s General Assembly having breathed life into the concept. World Water Day 2023 is especially important, as it marks a pivotal time in the fight for access to clean water. 

World Water Day 2023 – A Pivotal Occasion for the UN 

Water distribution is affected by a number of factors, from environmental factors such as climate change to infrastructure and management of available water sources. 
To put it into context, let’s look at the statistics: about 97% of the earth’s water is in the oceans – salt water that we can’t drink. With that and a small percentage of other saline water sources, it leaves 2.5% as freshwater. That sounds small as it is, but almost 70% of that fresh water is inaccessible, what with it being stored in glaciers. 
The remainder of the world’s fresh water is largely stored in groundwater, with a very small amount of it comprising surface water. This surface water can then be divided up into various different categories as well, from ice/permafrost to even the atmosphere. This leaves about 25% for lakes, rivers and other sources (swamps/marshes). 
The vast majority of the earth’s liquid freshwater being stored as groundwater, poses an issue. Without adequate management and infrastructure, getting access to this can be very difficult. Froms issues with access to pollution from various corporate endeavors, a lot needs to be done to address this and make use of groundwater as a resource. It was an important of the UN Water Development Report 2022. 
With adequate distribution of clean water being both fundamental to addressing the UN’s ambitions of ending poverty and hunger (as well as other key issues) and also being a major challenge, it easy to see why World Water Day is so important. 

UN 2023 Water Conference 

And that goes double for this year’s World Water Day! This year WWD coincides with the UN 2023 Water Conference, which is being held in New York, from 22-24 March. It marks the midway point of the Water Action Decade, which started on 22nd March, 2018 and will end on the same date in 2028. With access to safe water being crucial to all 17 of the UN’s Sustainable Development goals, this year’s conference marks a “once in a lifetime” chance for governments and other key players to commit taking the necessary steps towards achieving the water goals and targets that were outlined in recent years. Out of this conference and the commitments made during it, will come the Water Action Agenda which is described by the UN as “...the collection of all water-related voluntary commitments to accelerate progress in the second half of the Water Action Decade 2018-2028...".  
The UN 2023 Water Conference has a programme that is full of events, concerning various water-related issues – there's a lot going on over the three days, where all kinds of aspects of water will be discussed, from water sanitation to water’s role in peace. 
For their full programme, click here 

The Water Action Decade and the UN Sustainabe Development goals 

Marking the mid-way point of the Water Action Decade, the 2023 Conference comes with added weight and significance. 
The water action decade is a 2016 UN resolution, intending to put greater emphasis on water in order to achieve the goals set by goal 6 of the UN sustainable development goals.  
There are 17 Goals, which cover all important aspects of human life, including ending poverty, hunger, improving economic growth, sustainability and climate action! And fundamental to all of these is goal 6: “Ensure Availability and Sustainable Management of Water and Sanitation for All”
According to the UN, meeting drinking water, sanitation and hygiene targets by 2030 would require the current rate of progress to quadruple. As things stand, by 2030 1.6 billion people will lack safely managed drinking water, and 2.8 billion will lack safely managed sanitation. 
This year’s Conference will be key in accelerating the rate of progress and the Water Action Agenda that comes out of it all will be extremely important. 

A Cause for Optimism 

In the volatile and unpredictable times in which we are living, events like World Water Day and the UN Water Conference stir feelings of optimism and hope. Water is key to solving all aspects of quality of life, from health to poverty and even education. We hope that, in the future, we will be able to look back on 2023 as a year that really made the difference and set into motion a chain of events that lead to a better future for all. 
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