To focus attention on the importance of water, the 2013 World Water Day Commemoration was held on 22 March under the theme, “Water Cooperation”.
UNIC Harare joined Zimbabwe United Nations Association (ZUNA), over 200 pupils, teachers and government officials in a poetry recital competition.
Twenty-four Harare-based school pupils participated in the competition and they raised issues of dwindling water supply, sharing of water resources, water cooperation at a micro-level, hygienic behavior patterns such as hand washing, personal cleanliness and the consequence of non-collection of refuse in the community.
They cited typhoid and cholera as some of the diseases emanating from water scarcity. The pupils also demonstrated their knowledge of the importance of water, its qualities and composition.
Tafadzwa Mwale, UNIC National Information Officer gave the background to World Water Day and explained that the Day was recommended at the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED).
It was set aside by the United Nations to draw international attention to the critical lack of clean, safe drinking water. She explained that in setting aside the Day, the United Nations recognized the importance of the issue of water and encouraged UN member states to promote the day through different activities that include the promotion of public awareness through the production and dissemination of documentaries and the organization of conferences, round tables, seminars and expositions.
Mr Manyangadze, Chief Hydrologist in the Ministry of Water Resources Development and Management was the guest of honour at this event. In his speech, he explained that Zimbabwe has water courses that she shares with other countries. “We share the Zambezi River with seven other countries, the Save River with Mozambique and the Limpopo River with South Africa. Over the years we have managed as countries to peacefully utilize water from these watercourses through co-operation,” he said.
In his statement to mark World Water Day UN Secretary General Ban ki-Moon said “Water holds the key to sustainable development. We need it for health, food security and economic progress.” Despite this, he added, each year brings new pressures around issues of water.
“One in three people already live with moderate to high water stress, and by 2030 nearly half the global population could be facing water scarcity, with demand outstripping supply by 40 per cent”.
He said there is need to work together to protect and manage this fragile, finite resource saying that “competition is growing among farmers and herders; industry and agriculture; town and country; upstream and downstream; and across borders.
The year 2013 is the United Nations International Year of Water Cooperation. The year was declared in December 2010 by the United Nations General Assembly through Resolution A/RES/65/154.