It is easy for some to think that water simply comes from the tap, but this limited perspective fails to acknowledge the vital ecosystems from which our water comes. When rivers run dry or become polluted, when groundwater is over-exploited, and when ecosystems are degraded, it is only then that we begin to understand the true value of water.
As we mark World Water Day 2023, we are reminded of the indispensable role water plays in the lives of all living things on our planet. The urgent need for collective action to address the global water and sanitation crisis is reflected in this year's theme, Accelerating Change.
Despite an ambitious commitment to achieve Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, billions of people still lack access to safe water and sanitation. This situation is only going to get worse as we are looking to a hotter, drier future. A future where global demand for freshwater will outstrip supply by 40% by the end of this decade. A future where droughts—driven by climate change but also land degradation—will strike more often and hit even harder.
These problems do not discriminate. They affect countries and regions across all continents, from China to Chad, from Spain to Chile, from Australia to California here in the United States.
Healthy land is critical as we face a future of increasing weather extremes and human pressure. Through sustainable land management we can restore ecosystems, boost drought resilience and safeguard water resources for future generations.
The UN Water Conference that starts today is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to set an ambitious Water Action Agenda. One that can foster a more resilient, equitable, and prosperous future by recognizing the interconnectedness of water, land, climate and nature.
On World Water Day 2023, we reaffirm our steadfast commitment to accelerate change and address the water and sanitation crisis that impacts every aspect of our lives. We call on governments, organizations, businesses, and individuals around the world to join forces, share knowledge, and accelerate change to ensure safe water and sanitation for all.