World Water Day: Hopes and opportunities

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By Attari Hope.

World Water Day is an international observance and an opportunity to learn more about water related issues, be inspired to tell others and take action to make a difference. World Water Day dates back to the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development where an international observance for water was recommended. The United Nations General Assembly responded by designating 22 March 1993 as the first World Water Day. It has been held annually since then. Each year, UN-Water the entity that coordinates the UN’s work on water and sanitation sets a theme for World Water Day corresponding to a current or future challenge. The engagement campaign is coordinated by one or several of the UN-Water members with a related mandate.

To mark the World Water Day, nations are invited to devote the day as appropriate in the national context, to concretize activities such as the promotion of public awareness through the production and dissemination of documentaries, organization of conferences, round tables seminars and exposition related to the conservation and development of water resources.

Each year, World Water Day highlights specific aspect of freshwater. Themes for the World Water Day vary depending or corresponding to the current or future challenges. The event of the particular year of celebration is geared towards creating awareness on the importance of water in relation to the challenge.

For instance, the theme of 2014 World Water Day:”WATER and ENERGY” focused on water and energy nexus as a key to a rapid socio-economic development of a nation. This exemplified that no nation can develop without water and energy. The theme was to raise awareness of the inter-linkage between water and energy and also to inform decision makers in the energy and water sectors that integrated approaches and solutions to the water and energy issues can achieve greater economic and social impact in the lives of Nigerians.

The 2015 World Water Day had the theme, “WATER AND SUSTAINABLE Development”. It provided an important opportunity to consolidate upon the previous Word Water Days that highlighted the role of water in the sustainable development agenda. It is pertinent to note that “water” is at core of sustainable development and is critical for socio-economic development, healthy ecosystems and for human survival itself. It is central to the production and preservation of a host of benefits and services for people.

This year’s theme: “WATER AND JOBS” focuses on the fact that, Water means jobs. Water is the essential building block of life. But it is more than just essential to quench thirst or protect health; water is vital for creating jobs and supporting economic, social, and human development.

Today, half of the world’s workers – 1.5 billion, people work in water-related sectors. Moreover, nearly all jobs, regardless of the sector, depend directly on water. Yet, despite the indelible link between jobs and water, millions of people whose livelihoods depend on water are often not recognized or protected by basic labour rights.

So, this year’s World Water Day theme focuses on the central role that water plays in creating and supporting good quality jobs. It also shows how enough quantity and quality of water can change workers’ lives and livelihoods and even transform societies and economies.

Water is a pre-requisite to the development of some key sectors such as; agriculture, industry, energy, cities, ecosystem et al. The Federal Government of Nigeria is doing its best through the Ministry of Water Resources in meeting the yearnings of the teeming population of the country. We are hoping that in the coming years the sector especially the River Basin would be well positioned to support the present government drive for food security and the ongoing works in our dams would be completed to support power generation.

The Federal Ministry of Water Resources is not resting on its oars but it is leveraging on the theme of the 2016 World Water Day to work assiduously with relevant stakeholders in supporting the agricultural agenda of this administration to providing jobs and food security. Recently, the Hon. Minister of Water Resources, Engr. Suleiman H. Adamu, stated that the current change agenda is anchored on agricultural development. That it is pertinent to examine the roles and status of the 12 River Basin Development Authorities in meeting up to the demands of the new agricultural agenda for the country. According to him, “extensive and all year round irrigated agriculture is imperative, considering the drastic decline in earnings from petroleum production.”

This has come at no better time than now that Nigeria is working hard at diversifying its economy. The administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has come up with a new agricultural agenda to improve the lives of Nigerians by providing jobs in the agriculture sector. Recently, the President declared. “We must produce what we eat”. He was telling Nigerians that Nigeria did not have unlimited resources to continue the importation of food items that could be produced locally. He noted that the importation of food contributed to the depletion of the country’s foreign reserves and deprived citizens of job opportunities.

It is on this note that the Federal Ministry of Water Resources joins the rest of the world in celebrating the world water day acknowledging the hopes and opportunities that abound in the water sector through, agriculture, power, health, environment, youth empowerment etc. With the able leadership of the indefatigable Minister, Engr. Suleiman Adamu, it is the hope of Nigerians that the water sector would contribute its quota in the creation of jobs, hopes and opportunities to our teeming youths to transform our economy and transform lives.

Hope is of the Public Relations Unit, FMWR in commemoration of the 2016 World Water Day

 

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