FAO / WORLD WATER DAY

22-Mar-2021 00:05:07
Water is an “essential element of every aspect of development”, Qu Dongyu, Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said during a large virtual celebration to mark World Water Day 2021. He called on all stakeholders to work together to safeguard water and widen access to this precious resource. FAO
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STORY: FAO / WORLD WATER DAY
TRT: 05:08
SOURCE: FAO
RESTRICTIONS: PLEASE CREDIT FAO ON SCREEN
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH /SPANISH /NATS

DATELINE: 22 MARCH 2021, ROME, ITALY / FILE
SHOTLIST
FILE – ROME, ITALY

1. Pan right, FAO headquarters
2. Close up, United Nations flag
3. Med shot, United Nations flag

22 MARCH 2021, ROME, ITALY

4. Multiple screens
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Qu Dongyu, Director-General, FAO:
“Lives of over one billion people are severely constrained by water scarcity, or water shortages. Intensifying water usage threatens food security, nutrition, and requires urgent action. Population growth and changing diets will increase water needs, intensifying competition among water users. Insufficient and unreliable access to water impedes the livelihoods of many millions of small-scale farmers, fishers and herders. Challenges in the access to water, the increase of pollution, are seen all around the food supply chain, including food processing, affecting the food security, nutrition, health and ecosystem services and posing major risks for the vulnerable populations.”
6. Multiple screens
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Qu Dongyu, Director-General, FAO:
“FAO is working with members and partners to create a stronger and more resilient rural communities addressing water scarcity, improving livelihood opportunities and sustaining ecosystems. FAO Global Framework on Global Scarcity Partnership Programme accelerates joint actions to cope with water scarcity in agriculture and changing climate. FAO’s Water Productivity Portal uses open access to remotely sensed data to assist the members monitor water production and also reduce water stress.”
8. Multiple screens
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Audrey Azoulay, Director-General, UNESCO:
“By 2030, we will face a 40 per cent shortfall in terms of water we require to meet our needs. When water become scarce, the consequences are always serious, amplifying inequalities, and affecting vulnerable populations in particular. In slums for instance, water costs up to 20 times more than in areas where it can be accessed through public networks. Water is essential for health, for our survival, as the current pandemic has clearly shown. Yet 45 per cent of the global population and 40 per cent of health institutions do not have access to essential sanitation facilities.”
10. Multiple screens
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Gilbert F. Houngbo, Chair, UN-Water and President, IFAD:
“We have no time to lose, because we know we are seriously off track in our commitment to meet the SDG 6. So, we must accelerate progress. In some areas, such as ensuring countries have operational agreement for water cooperation, we must even move 8 times faster if we really want to get close to achieve our objective at 2030. The plans are in place, working through the SDG 6 global acceleration framework we can respond to the needs of people and the needs of the planet. Anything less is unacceptable ladies and gentlemen.”
12. Multiple screens
13. SOUNDBITE (Spanish) Cardinal Pietro Parolin on behalf of His Holiness Pope Francis:
“In the same 21st century, in the era of progress and of technical innovations, the access to drinking and safe water is not within everyone's reach. His Holiness reminds us of that water is a basic human right, fundamental and universal, condition for the exercise of other human rights”.
14. Multiple screens
15. SOUNDBITE (Spanish) Cardinal Pietro Parolin on behalf of His Holiness Pope Francis:
“To guarantee the right access to water, it is of great urgency to act without delay to stop once and for all to disperse, commercialize and contaminate water. Collaboration between states, between the public and private sector, as well as the multiplication of initiatives by intergovernmental bodies, is more necessary than ever. Equally urgent is binding legal coverage, systematic and effective support so that quality and quantity of drinking water arrive in all areas of the planet.”
16. Multiple screens
STORYLINE
Water is an “essential element of every aspect of development”, Qu Dongyu, Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said today (22 Mar) during a large virtual celebration to mark World Water Day 2021. He called on all stakeholders to work together to safeguard water and widen access to this precious resource.

In his welcoming address, Qu Dongyu described the gravity of the problem, saying that according to FAO’s 2020 State of Food and Agriculture report “the lives of over a billion people are severely constrained by water scarcity or water shortages”.

He said, “lives of over one billion people are severely constrained by water scarcity, or water shortages. Intensifying water usage threatens food security, nutrition, and requires urgent action.”

He added that, in the future, “population growth and changing diets will increase water needs, intensifying competition among water users.”

The Director-General continued by calling on all stakeholders to work together to ensure everyone has safe access to water. “We need the ingenuity of the private sector, the drive of civil society and the solidarity of the international community. We need to create synergy by joining hands and working together,” he said.

The event saw a high-level participation

In her opening address, Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, said water was a valuable “blue gold”, adding that difficulties in accessing water can also be measured in terms of educational and economic losses.

In his speech, Gilbert F. Houngbo, Chair of UN-Water and President of IFAD underscored that “water is fundamental to life and livelihoods,” adding that we must take action to improve the management of water resources and accelerate progress if we are to meet SDG 6 by 2030.

The World Water Day virtual celebration included a special recorded message from Cardinal Pietro Parolin on behalf of His Holiness Pope Francis, in which he reiterated that water is a basic and universal human right, something that every human being without exception is entitled to, adding that it is crucial to act to improve access to water worldwide.

World Water Day is held on 22 March every year, with its core focus being to support the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6: water and sanitation for all by 2030. Some 2.2 billion people live without access to safe water and the annual amount of available freshwater per person has declined by more than 20 percent in the past two decades, yet more and more water is needed to nourish crops to feed a growing global population.

This year’s World Water Day theme, ‘Valuing Water’, underscores the urgent need to better protect this vital resource.
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