There is no single UN entity dedicated exclusively to water issues. Over 30 UN organizations carry out water and sanitation programs, reflecting the fact that water issues run through all of the UN’s main focus areas. UN-Water’s role is to coordinate them all so that the UN family ‘delivers as one’ in response to water-related challenges.
While substantial progress has been made in increasing access to clean drinking water and sanitation, billions of people still lack these basic services. Worldwide, one in three people do not have access to safe drinking water, two out of five people do not have a basic hand-washing facility with soap and water, and more than 673 million people still practice open defecation.
International days and weeks are occasions to educate the public on issues of concern, to mobilize political will and resources to address global problems, and to celebrate and reinforce achievements of humanity. The existence of international days predates the establishment of the United Nations, but the UN has embraced them as a powerful advocacy tool. We also mark other UN observances.