» Water quality highlighted on World Water Day 2010
19.03.2010 - UNESCOPRESS

Water quality highlighted on World Water Day 2010

For this year’s annual World Water Day, celebrated on 22 March, UNESCO and WWF-France are holding a round table debate at Organization Headquarters on “Water Quality, Quality of Life”, echoing this year’s theme of: “Clean Water for a Healthy World”.

An estimated 884 million people worldwide do not have access to potable water, most of them living in Africa. Population growth and increasing urbanization, chemical pollution and invasive species are the main factors contributing to the deterioration of water quality. The consequences for the environment and for mankind are considerable. Almost 1.5 million children die every year from water-borne diseases.


            In a message delivered on World Water Day, UNESCO’s Director-General, Irina Bokova, stressed the need for investment to improve water quality. “We already possess the scientific knowledge to make immediate progress in providing clean water and purification facilities, but the finance has to follow. Scientists are developing novel and ingenious ways to protect surface and underground water from pollution and to ensure better water management.”


            Water quality will be theme of the round table debate on 22 March organized by WWF-France and UNESCO, from 4 pm – 6 pm  (UNESCO Fontenoy, Room IV) in the presence of Chantal Jouanno, French Secretary of State for Ecology. Panellists include specialists such as Larbi Bougherra, former professor at the Faculty of Sciences, Tunis; Jean-Claude Lefeuvre, Honorary president of the Natural History Museum, Paris and René Habert, a lecturer at the University of Paris 7 and researcher at the French medical research institute, INSERM.


            As the lead UN agency for science and education regarding water, UNESCO contributes to the assessment of the state of world freshwater resources, with its World Water Report – published every three years – coordinated by the World Water Assessment Programme, whose Secretariat is directed by UNESCO. Also, UNESCO’s International Hydrological Programme endeavours to promote science and understanding to help protect water quality.

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