Achieving the Water for Life Decade’s goals has needed sustained commitment, engagement, cooperation and investment from all.
The decade is officially drawing to a close on World Water Day, 22 March 2015. The Decade has seen the recognition of the human right to water and sanitation and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goal target of halving the number of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water well in advance of the 2015 deadline. But what does this mean at ground level? Have these advancements improved your daily life? Did your water and sanitation situation improve? Have you benefited from the successes of the Decade?
As the end of the 'Water for Life' Decade approaches, we would like to show how people's efforts, your efforts, have contributed to its success. We want to hear your voice! Your WaterForLifeVoice!
In September 2000, building upon a decade of major United Nations conferences and summits, world leaders came together at United Nations Headquarters in New York to adopt the United Nations Millennium Declaration, committing their nations to a new global partnership to reduce extreme poverty and setting out a series of time-bound targets - with the deadline of 2015 - that became known as the Millennium Development Goals.
The eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – which range from halving extreme poverty to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS, halving the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and providing universal primary education by 2015 – form a blueprint agreed on by all the world’s countries and leading development institutions. Together they have galvanized unprecedented efforts to meet the needs of the world’s poorest. In 2002, at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, the water target was expanded to include basic sanitation and water as a resource was recognized as a critical factor in meeting all the Goals.
Significant progress has been made since then in providing people with access to clean drinking water and basic sanitation. However, a major effort is still required to extend these essential services to those still unaccounted for.
Given the magnitude of the task, in December 2003, the United Nations General Assembly decided to proclaim the period 2005-2015 International Decade for Action 'Water for Life'.
The primary goal of the ’Water for Life’ Decade is to promote efforts to fulfil international commitments made on water and water-related issues by 2015.
Significant progress has been made since then in providing people with access to clean drinking water and basic sanitation:
In providing the world’s population with an improved water source and basic sanitation we still have a lot to do and the future is full of challenges. To build this future upon solid foundations we must acknowledge and celebrate our successes. Don’t you think so?
We want to make a big splash! You can contribute by submitting different types of materials: your photos with your message, a 3 minute audio/video recording or an interview. All these need to respond to the three questions above.
Selected contributions will be considered for inclusion in the end of Decade online exhibit. To be considered, you need to submit your materials before the end of December (deadline for submissions is 15 December 2014). If your work is considered you will be notified and credited. Contributions submitted before the end of August are now being assessed to be included in the exhibit that will take place on World Water Day 2015 at the United Nations Headquarters.
The 'Water for Life' Decade has provided an opportunity for everyone to get involved and contribute. All around the world, activities and initiatives have been actively building the Water for Life Decade campaign. YOUR ideas, activities and initiatives have been welcomed and become part of the Water for Life Decade family!
You have promoted the Decade by using and distributing its logo. So, we especially want to know your plans to celebrate and take stock of the end of the decade. We would like to invite you to be our Champions. Please submit your photos, videos and messages and also those from people whose lives have improved during the decade.
Be our champion! There’s still time to join the ‘Water for Life’ Decade Campaign, you simply have to request the use of its logo.
As a media professional YOUR ideas, activities and initiatives have been welcomed and become part of the Water for Life Decade family! Contribute now to the WaterForLifeVoices Exhibit and Campaign.
We would like to invite you now to be our Champions in showing how people have benefited, what they want for the future and how people's efforts have contributed. Please submit your photos, videos, audios and messages from those people whose lives have improved during the Decade.
Submissions by media professionals will be evaluated and those selected will receive a special media nomination.
Anders Berntell, 2030 Water Resources Group
"I think the focus of the international discussions on water has changed a lot. 10 years ago there were lots of discussion about the privatization of water, that’s gone. The human right to water is recognized and within the water discussion there’s much more focus on management of water resources, the water-food-energy-climate change nexus, and on the scarcity of water resources."
Clarissa Brocklehurst, Senior Advisor, Sanitation and Water for All Secretariat
"One of the differences is that things that were crazy ideas 10 years ago are now being discussed as quite sensible solutions. Now we’re not talking about whether excreta reuse is a good idea or not, we’re talking about all the different ways to do it, including some quite crazy ways - but it’s all good."
Dan Bena, Pepsico
"In the last 10 years it is amazing to me how many different partners are starting to collaborate now. So I remember when I first started this [initiative] years ago, the idea that the private sector could engage with the United Nations was taboo, that was never a consideration, but more and more the private sector is being invited to different round tables by the UN."
Dominique Gatel, Veolia
"The water sector has become a lot more professional over the last 10 years. A small concrete example is Water Quality, which is now in most places monitored in a transparent manner with performance indicators, which allow tracking and shows improvements."
Flemming Winther Olsen, Senior Advisor, Department for Environment, Energy and Climate. Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark
"One of the biggest differences is that we have become increasingly aware that we have to talk with people outside the water sector. And that water is not really managed by water people, rather it is managed by the agriculture sector, by municipality governments."
Gordon Young, International Association of Hydrological Sciences (IAHS)
"I have a totally different perspective because I’m here representing the International Association of Hydrological Sciences, so I represent the research community in water, which you may think is totally irrelevant to what’s being discussed here but we’ve just started last year a new research decade in hydrology and we’re linking it very much to the needs of society."
Robert Bos, International Water Association (IWA)
"I think that because of the intensification of work on water we’ve come to the realization how much more complicated things are than we thought they were 10 years ago, but also we have been able to see how much more interconnected they are and so the idea of the nexus is not just water, energy and food but it’s also within the water sector looking at these various issues and I think that was the basis on which the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) now embrace a much bigger water picture than they did 15 years ago."