World Water Day

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World Water Day is an annual UN observance day (always on 22 March) that highlights the importance of freshwater. The day is used to advocate for the sustainable management of freshwater resources.[1] World Water Day is celebrated around the world with a variety of events. These can be educational, theatrical, musical or lobbying in nature. The day can also include campaigns to raise money for water projects. The first World Water Day, designated by the United Nations, was in 1993. Each year many countries celebrate World Water Day.

UN-Water is the convener for World Water Day and selects a theme for each year in consultation with UN organizations that share an interest in that year’s focus. The theme for 2019 is “Leaving no one behind” and encourages people to consider marginalized groups as these are often overlooked and discriminated against when they try to access safe water. Previous themes for the years 2014 to 2018 were “Water and energy”, “Water and Sustainable Development”, “Water and Jobs'”, “Why waste water?” and “Nature for Water”.

The focus on universal access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) is in line with the targets of Sustainable Development Goal 6. The UN World Water Development Report (WWDR) is released each year around World Water Day.

World Water Day is an international observance day. The intention is to inspire people around the world to learn more about water-related issues and to take action to make a difference.

Relevant issues include water scarcity, water pollution, inadequate water supply, lack of sanitation, and the impacts of climate change (which is set to be the theme of World Water Day 2020). The day brings to light the inequality of access to WASH services and the need to assure the human right to water and sanitation.

The World Water Day website announces events, activities and volunteer opportunities. In 2018, stories are about “Nature and water from around the world” in keeping with the theme of “Nature for water”.

World Wildlife Day

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“On this World Wildlife Day, let us raise awareness about the extraordinary diversity of marine life and the crucial importance of marine species to sustainable development. That way, we can continue to provide these services for future generations..” — UN Secretary-General António Guterres

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The incalculable value of wildlife

The animals and plants that live in the wild have an intrinsic value and contributes to the ecological, genetic, social, economic, scientific, educational, cultural, recreational and aesthetic aspects of human well-being and sustainable development.

World Wildlife Day is an opportunity to celebrate the many beautiful and varied forms of wild fauna and flora and to raise awareness of the multitude of benefits that conservation provides to people. At the same time, the Day reminds us of the urgent need to step up the fight against wildlife crime and human induced reduction of species, which have wide-ranging economic, environmental and social impacts. Given these various negative effects, Sustainable Development Goal #15 focuses on halting biodiversity loss.

Life Below Water: For people and planet

Goal 14 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG14) aims to “conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.” The theme of World Wildlife Day 2019 is: “Life Below Water: For people and planet” which closely aligns with this goal, with a specific focus on the conservation and sustainable use of marine wildlife.

The ocean contains nearly 200,000 identified species, but actual numbers may be in the millions. Over three billion people depend on marine and coastal biodiversity for their livelihoods. Marine wildlife has sustained human civilization and development for millennia, from providing food and nourishment, to material for handicraft and construction. It has also enriched our lives culturally, spiritually, and recreationally in different ways.

The capacity of life below water to provide these services is severely impacted, as our planet’s oceans and the species that live within it are under assault from an onslaught of threats. These include the most significant and direct threat of overexploitation particularly unsustainable fishing and other marine species extraction practices but also important threats such as climate change, marine pollution and habitat destruction. These threats have a strong impact on the lives and livelihoods of those who depend on marine ecosystem services, particularly women and men in coastal communities.