Winners of the High Schools Quiz on water, Dzivarasekwa 2 High School pose with their teacher
This year’s World Water Day highlights the essential and interconnected role of water as the UN prepares to adopt a new post-2015 sustainable development agenda in September, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has said.
In his annual World Water Day Statement read during activities to commemorate the Day in Harare on 22 March, the UN Secretary General said that among the most urgent issues surrounding water are access to safe drinking water and sanitation.
“Despite progress under the Millennium Development Goals, adopted in 2000, some 750 million people — more than one in ten of the world’s population — remain without access to an improved water supply. Women and children, in particular, are affected by this lack, as not only is their health compromised, but considerable hours are wasted in the unproductive – and sometimes dangerous – business of collecting water,” he said.
“Our sustainable future is also jeopardized by climate change, which is why United Nations Member States are working hard towards a meaningful, universal climate agreement this December in Paris,” he added.
The Secretary-General said over the coming years, greenhouse gas emissions will have to significantly decline in order to avert the worst impacts of climate change, which include changed weather patterns and the threat of water scarcity in large parts of the world.
To commemorate World Water Day in Harare, UNIC and the Zimbabwe United Nations Association organised a high schools quiz on water. Twenty students from ten Harare based schools participated in the quiz. These included Marlborough High School, Mufakose 4 High School, Mukai High School, St Peters Mbare and Tafara High School.
Running under the 2015 theme Water and Sustainable Development, the quiz posed questions such as “According to the order of the MDGs, which Goal states the need to promote environmental sustainability? Which UN agency specialises in water? “In which year was World Water Day proclaimed?”
The Dzivarasekwa 2 High School team won first prize, followed by Kuwadzana 2 High School in 2nd place and Mufakose 4 High School in third place.
Speaking at this occasion, Percy Mugwangwavari, Planning Engineer in the Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate said the Ministry recognizes World Water Day as it heightens the need to raise awareness on water related issues. He explained that the Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate makes every effort possible to engage all stakeholders, including local authorities, citizens and other organisations on issues to do with water.
An international day to celebrate freshwater was recommended at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro. The United Nations General Assembly responded by adopting resolution A/RES/47/193 of 22 December 1992 by which 22 March of each year was declared World Day for Water, in conformity with the recommendations of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) contained in Chapter 18 (Fresh Water Resources) of Agenda 21.
The first World Water Day was observed on 22 March 1993.