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World Water Day on March 22
Access to water should be a human right says the Ecumenical Water Network of the World Council of Churches. Local congregations can be involved.
An announcement at the World Council of Churches describes World Water Day on March 22, 2009.
Representatives of the Ecumenical Water Network (EWN) have expressed their hope that state representatives at the World Water Forum taking place in Istanbul, 16-22 March, will affirm access to water as a human right.
At a side-event to the Forum on Tuesday, EWN representatives said that the affirmation of the human right to water would allow the international community to move on to a constructive discussion about its implementation and to promote dialogue and research about good practices.
Three EWN member organizations - Church World Service, the Church of Sweden and Norwegian Church Aid - have signed a civil society statement which asks for the right to water to be expressly recognized in the ministerial declaration that will be adopted at the Forum. At previous Forums, such recognition has not been achieved although numerous governments have recognized the right to water in statements and national law.
The World Water Forum takes place every three years and is the largest international event dedicated to water issues. It is organized by the World Water Council, which is not part of the inter-governmental United Nations framework, but is composed of a variety of stakeholders including corporations and business associations. In the past the Forum has tended to emphasize water privatization and large-scale water infrastructure.
Prayer and celebration for World Water Day
While the interests of business players are thus well represented in international discussions about water issues, it is important that civil society organizations and churches raise awareness of the needs of affected communities, according to the EWN, a network of churches and Christian organizations working on people's access to water around the world. One opportunity to do so is World Water Day on 22 March.
"As World Water Day falls on a Sunday this year, we certainly hope that people will celebrate water through prayer, worship or other activities and raise awareness of our shared responsibility to care for this precious gift and make it accessible to everybody," says Maike Gorsboth, EWN coordinator.
EWN has put together a collection of resources and links to help congregations address the issue, inspired by prayer, biblical texts on justice and on water, and the experiences of church agencies with the challenges posed by unequal access to freshwater and sanitation.
EWN resources for World Water Day
Seven Weeks for Water - Lenten meditations on water and justice
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