By Francesca Merlo
Over 3,000 people from 135 countries have registered for this year’s “World Water Week” (WWW). WWW, running until August 31, is organized by the Stockholm International Water Institute which has partnered with 6 main Swedish and Global Organisations. Their aim this year is to address the theme “Water, ecosystems and human development”.
At his General Audience on Wednesday, Pope Francis called attention to the importance of making water accessible to all and protecting this fundamental resource.
Faith for water
Thursday marks the WWW’s “Water and Faith Day” (WFD), held in Stockholm, Sweden. The aim of WFD is to see how faith-based groups can work together with both public and private sectors in order to achieve water justice for everyone.
The WFD will entail a public showcase, panel discussions, speeches and press conferences, and strategic planning meetings.
Amongst the main International partners for WFD is the World Council of Churches (WCC), more specifically, their initiative called the Ecumenical Water Network (EWN).
Over 2 billion people continue to live in a water-stressed area. According to Dinesh Suna, the coordinator of the Ecumenical Water Network of the World Council of Churches, one important aspect in addressing this global water crisis is becoming Blue Communities. This entails:
1. Respect human rights to water
2. Promote public control of water resources
3. Say No to bottled water where tap water is safe, or look for alternatives.
One million plastic bottles are used every minute worldwide. By 2050 there may be more plastic in the ocean than there are fish (by weight).
Water: God’s gift
Comprising a network of churches and church-related organisations, its aim is to promote preservation, responsible management and equitable distribution of water to all. It bases its work on the understanding that water is a gift from God and that access to it is one of the most fundamental of human rights.
EWN’s website says, “We believe that water is to be preserved and shared for the benefit of all creatures and the wider creation.” The EWN is working to help meet the UN’s “SDG 6”: Sustainable Development Goal number 6 – “water and sanitation for all”.
The World Council of Churches has become a blue community and urges others to do the same.
An attainable goal
SIWI is a water institute “leveraging knowledge and convening power to strengthen water governance for a just, prosperous, and sustainable future.”
In working with organisations, such as WCC, they aim to make the UN’s SDG 6 attainable by 2030. In order to do so they are calling for help from individuals and small communities to follow them in becoming Blue Communities in order to help the 2 billion people who do not have access to clean water, gain this human right, this gift from God.