Land & Water

Celebration of World Water Day 2021 "Valuing water", 22 March 2021

The World Water Day celebrates water and raises awareness of the global water crisis, and a core focus of the observance is to support the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6: water and sanitation for all by 2030.

The theme of World Water Day 2021 is valuing water. The value of water is about much more than its economic value – water has enormous and complex value for our households, food, culture, health, education, economics and the integrity of our natural environment. If we overlook any of these values, we risk mismanaging this finite, irreplaceable resource. SDG 6 is to ensure water and sanitation for all. Without a comprehensive understanding of water’s true, multidimensional value, we will be unable to safeguard this critical resource for the benefit of everyone.

On 22 March, 2021, World Water Day was celebrated in an online event. The United Nations World Water Development Report was also launched including recommendations of policy direction to decision makers.

The celebration was webcasted here.

Agenda - World Water Day Celebration "Valuing Water", 22 March 2021, 13.00-14.30 CET

13:00 - 13:50 High-Level Opening Ceremony

Master of Ceremony, Ms. Sasha Koo-Oshima, Deputy Director, Land and Water Division, FAO 

  • Welcoming address by Mr. QU Dongyu, Director-General, FAO
  • Opening address by Ms. Audrey Azoulay, Director-General, UNESCO (video message)
  • Opening address by Mr. Gilbert F. Houngbo, Chair, UN-Water and President of IFAD

Message from Special Guests:

  • His Holiness Pope Francis (video message read by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State, Vatican City)
  • H.E. Mr. David Choquehuanca, Vice-president of the Plurinational State of Bolivia
  • H.E. Mr. Serigne Mbaye Thiam, Minister of Water and Sanitation of the Republic of Senegal (video message)
  • H.E. Ms. Marina Sereni, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Republic of Italy (video message)
  • H.E. Mr. Jonathan Malagón González, Minister of Housing, Cities and Territory of the Republic of Colombia (video message)
  • Mr. Henk Ovink, Special Envoy International Water Affairs, The Kingdom of Netherlands (video message)

13:50 – 14:00 Presentation of the UN World Water Development Report 2021

Ms. Michela Miletto, Coordinator and Director, UNESCO WWAP

14:00 - 14:22 Interactive discussion – what does water mean to you?

Moderator, Mr. Neil Dhot, Executive Director, Aquafed (UK) 

  • Ms. Rasha Hassan, Governance Coordinator, Water Youth Network (Syria)
  • Euphresia Luseka, Water Governance Expert and Co-Lead Rural Water Supply network (RWSN) (Kenya)
  • Keynote listener, Mr. Pedro Arrojo-Agudo, UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation (Spain)

14:22 - 14:27 Announcement of the winner of the Stockholm Water Prize 

Mr. Torgny Holmgren, Executive Director, SIWI (Sweden) (video message)

14:27 - 14:30 Closing of the celebration

Ms. Maria Helena Semedo, Deputy Director-General, Climate and Natural Resources, FAO