Leveraging water for peace

World Water Day (WWD) celebrates water and raises awareness of the 2.2 billion people living without access to safe water. It revolves around taking action to tackle the global water crisis, with a core focus of supporting the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 6: water and sanitation for all by 2030

The theme of World Water Day 2024 is Water for Peace. It is about working together to balance everyone’s needs, with a dedication to ensure no one is left behind, to make water a catalyst for a more peaceful world. Key messages for World Water Day 2024 include:

  • Water can create peace or spark conflict. When water is scarce or polluted, or when people struggle for access, tensions can rise. By cooperating on water, we can balance everyone’s water needs and help stabilise the world.
  • Prosperity and peace rely on water. As nations manage climate change, mass migration and political unrest, they must put water cooperation at the heart of their plans.
  • Water can lead us out of crisis. We can foster harmony between communities and countries by uniting around the fair and sustainable use of water – from United Nations conventions at the international level, to actions at the local level.

WASH in fragile and conflict affected contexts

The access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in fragile and conflict affected settings is often compromised. In fact, people who live in such contexts are twice as likely to lack safely managed drinking water and basic hygiene (UNICEF, 2023). This leads to increased consumption of unsafe water, higher risks of disease and malnutrition, malfunctioning schools and health care centres, among others, which all add to the social, economic and political instability already in place.

These issues are recognised by the hands4health project, which focuses on conflict affected areas, refugee and internally displaced population camps, informal settlements and remote rural areas with poor or failed WASH structures in Mali, Burkina Faso, Nigeria and Palestine. In these settings, the project is implementing a holistic approach to improve the WASH systems in primary health care centres and schools that are not connected to functional water supply.

Find out more about the hands4health work and achievements in the country updates below.

  • Burkina Faso: hands4health updates from Burkina Faso. Read the full article here.
  • Mali: The contribution of hands4health to Water for Peace in Mali. Read the full article here.
  • Nigeria: World Water Day campaigns in Borno State, Maiduguri, Nigeria. Read the full article here.
  • Palestine: Water for Peace in Palestine. Read the full article here

To stay up-to-date with the hands4health activities, we invite you to check out the latest updates on our website and to register for our newsletter.

More information and resources on World Water Day

If you would like to find out more about how to leverage water for peace, we recommend the official website of the World Water Day 2024 and the resources below: