World Water Day 2006 - "Water and Culture and Emerging Challenges in UNESCAP Region"
The international observance of World Water Day (WWD) on 22 March is an initiative that grew out of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro. States were invited to devote WWD to implement the UN recommendations and set up concrete activities as deemed appropriate in the national context.
This year, WWD was guided by the theme "Water and Culture". WWD 2006 commemorations in Bangkok will feature a panel discussion on "Water, Culture and Emerging Challenges for the UNESCAP region" and an exhibition open to everyone. "Water has always played a key role in human civilization, yet there are still almost 700 million people in the Asia-Pacific region without access to safe drinking water and two billion without adequate sanitation. Recent estimates show that 3000 children under five years of age die every day because of dirty water and poor hygiene in our region," Executive Secretary of UNESCAP Mr. Kim Hak-Su said.
Mr. Kim is urging the region to get serious about the desperate need for access to clean water and sanitation as a basic underpinning of human development.
"Per capita water availability is rapidly declining throughout the Asia Pacific region due to rapid increase in population and increasing pollution. UNESCAP, as the regional arm of the United Nations in Asia and the Pacific, is fully committed to these tasks, and address water related problems in the broad context of the economic and social development in the region," he said.