Green Cross links water, youth and art to celebrate World Water Day 2013

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For over a decade, Green Cross was a key backer of the Human Right to Safe-Drinking Water and Sanitation, which the United Nations recognized in 2010. Now, Green Cross advocates for national implementation of the Right through legislation and investment.

GCI - World Water Day

Freshwater is limited, and cooperation is vital for managing the world’s shared water resources

Pooling our water projects, art and youth from around the globe, Green Cross is celebrating World Water Day 2013 in unique fashion, and in doing so promoting the need for stronger international cooperation over the planet’s limited and precious freshwater supplies.

World Water Day is held annually on 22 March to focus attention on the importance of freshwater and advocate for the sustainable management of water resources. And this time around, extra attention is being given to these key issues, as the United Nations has recognised 2013 as being the International Year of Water Cooperation.

“Freshwater is limited, and cooperation is vital for managing the world’s shared water resources,” says Marie-Laure Vercambre, Director of Green Cross International’s (GCI) Water for Life and Peace programme. “The global Green Cross network fosters links with local authorities, other civil society groups, community members and project sponsors to increase awareness, develop our respective capacities, improve water cooperation and access.”

In the build-up to World Water Day 2013, Green Cross, and its Smart Water for Green Schools (SWGS) project, have been raising awareness in schools in Bolivia, Ghana, South Korea and Ukraine. Green Cross staff delivered classroom presentations, titled “Water: A Fuel for Life,” explaining the importance of water, the need for cooperation and the water challenges we face.

During school visits, Green Cross also asked students: “Why is water precious to you?” a question they answered through art. Dozens of paintings and drawings have been collected, and are being displayed as part of an online contest. The art works that receive the most “Likes” through a Facebook gallery will be shown in an outdoor photo exhibition during June and July in Geneva, Switzerland.

SWGS is GCI’s flagship on-the-ground activity for providing sustainable access to safe drinking water and sanitation to tens of thousands of people in Argentina, Bolivia, China, Ghana, Ivory Coast and Ukraine. And GCI is looking to expand the project to more countries. Since 2010, almost 70 communities, home to over 52,000 people, have had rainwater harvesting systems, wells and boreholes installed by Green Cross.

Green Cross offices and partners are marking World Water Day in other interesting ways, including Green Cross Italy’s staging of its Save the Drop initiative, and Giorgio Armani’s launch of its Acqua for Life Challenge 2013.

GCI, founded in 1993 by President Mikhail Gorbachev, is an independent non-profit and nongovernmental organization working to address the inter-connected global challenges of security, poverty eradication and environmental degradation through advocacy and local projects. GCI is headquartered in Geneva and has a network of national organizations in around 30 countries.

Related content:

  •     World Water Day 2013
  •     Online art contest: Choose your favourite (Facebook)
  •     Art gallery (GCI website)
  •     Classroom presentations for World Water Day 2013: English, Russian, Spanish
  •     Green Cross Water for Life and Peace
  •     Smart Water for Green Schools
  •     Acqua for Life Challenge 2013 Facebook, press release
  •     Green Cross Italy Save the Drop campaign
  •     GCI water partners

Editors notes:

Promoting access to and cooperation over water are central to GCI’s Water for Life and Peace Programme.

For over a decade, Green Cross was a key backer of the Human Right to Safe-Drinking Water and Sanitation, which the United Nations recognized in 2010. Now, Green Cross advocates for national implementation of the Right through legislation and investment.

Global water cooperation can be bolstered through ratification of the UN Watercourses Convention, a global framework to secure the joint, equitable and sustainable management of shared river basins. While being adopted by over 100 countries in 1997, the Convention has yet to enter into force, due to too few countries so far ratifying it

Only 40% of the world’s 276 transboundary basins benefit from any cooperative agreement. These basins represent 60% of global freshwater flow. Most agreements are obsolete, incomplete or encompass all riparian States. This poses a great risk in terms of water security, economic development and political stability.

Green Cross advises national consultations of governments and stakeholders on the importance of adopting legal frameworks, such as the UN Watercourses Convention, to facilitate cooperation over international river basins and promote their joint protection and equitable use.

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Paul Garwood
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