World Water Day explores nature-based solutions

World Water Day explores nature-based solutions



22 March 2018

This year’s theme for the  World Water Day campaign explores nature-based solutions to the water challenges we face in the 21st century.  This year marks 25 years of the annual global focus on water.

To mark the event, WMO devoted its Bulletin to a special issue on water.

“Water is one of the essential elements to human life. It is indispensable to our social and economic well-being. However, more than 780 million people – about 11% of the world’s population – do not have access to clean, safe water. Even more worrisome is the estimate that about half of the world’s hospital beds are filled with people suffering from a water-related disease. Furthermore, 70% of global freshwater resources goes to agriculture and irrigation, and only 10% to domestic uses. It is therefore not surprising that international agreements are focusing attention on the availability and sustainable management of clean and secure water resources.” said WMO Commission for Hydrology President Harry F. Lins and WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas in a joint preface.

The President of the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly, H.E. Mr. Miroslav Lajčák will launch the International Decade for Action: Water for Sustainable Development 2018-2028 aiming to further improve cooperation, partnership and capacity development in response to the ambitious 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

This follows the release of a New Agenda for Water Action issued by a high level panel on Water. It called for a fundamental shift in the way the world manages water so that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and in particular SDG6, can be achieved. This follows a 2-year mandate to find ways to accelerate solutions to the urgent water crisis.

WMO is organizing a HydroConference from 7 to 9 May, This aims to foster collaboration on improving the availability and use of hydrological services worldwide by:

  • Promoting collaboration for new and ongoing initiatives, including the establishment of data exchange;
  • Leveraging the knowledge and expertise of the full range of water stakeholders to coordinate efforts towards greater impact; and 
  • Mobilizing public and private sector leaders to leverage support for key initiatives.WMO is the lead technical agency for operational hydrology within the UN system.


The WMO Commission for Hydrology supports the National Hydrological Services of its Member States and Territories to develop and strengthen capabilities and services across the entire hydrological value chain, from monitoring to service delivery.

Included within the Commission’s portfolio is the provision of guidance and assistance in real-time water data collection and data sharing, hydrological modelling and forecasting, flood early warning dissemination and water resources decision-support services.

Although its various activities have traditionally focused on creating standards and capacity development, the Commission is increasingly emphasizing the need for sustaining operational capabilities. This shift in emphasis will hopefully provide National Hydrological Services of limited capacity with sustainable technological tools for long-term delivery of water information and services.

The special water edition of the WMO Bulletin draws attention to WMO activities to help Members find solutions to the problems they face across the entire water resources value chain and to support moves towards a world where all people are safe in face of increasing water-related hazards and have access to clean water.

The Bulletin is available here

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