For information only - not an official document.
Press Release No:   UNIS/SG/2516
Release Date:   9 March 2000
 Secretary-General Urges Culture of Conservation and “Blue Revolution”,
In Message on World Water Day

 NEW YORK, 8 March (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the message of Secretary-General Kofi Annan on World Water Day, observed 22 March:

 Clean accessible water is a unique commodity.  In this new century, there is still no technology available that can manufacture water.  It cannot be replaced or duplicated. It must, therefore, be valued and safeguarded.

 We cannot live without water.  It is essential to every aspect of living.  In many regions of the world, water tables are falling, underground aquifers are drying out, rivers and lakes are shrinking, and chemical pollution from farming threatens water quality.  Lack of access to safe water supply and water management contributes to an estimated 80 per cent of disease and death in the developing world.

 Spreading water shortages due to rapid population growth, urbanization and increasing urban poverty have made the goal of water for all seemingly unattainable, particularly in developing countries. In many parts of the world, the main problem will continue to be supplying water to growing populations for drinking and waste disposal, particularly in the megacities.

 The international community must exercise its rights and responsibilities to provide water for rich and poor alike, for all competing users, equitably, reliably and affordably.  The challenge before us is to manage human activity for the conservation of water quality and quantity.  Women, as managers of families, have a central part to play.

 Global awareness of the role that water plays in sustainable development is vital.  The peoples of the world must upgrade their knowledge of the water cycle and thereby increase their capacity to better manage this scarce resource. This can be achieved by drawing from the well of human wisdom to develop and promote a culture of conservation and a “blue revolution”.

* * * * *