UNITED NATIONS, March 22 (Xinhua) -- The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Sunday urged for cooperation and innovation to tackle challenges related with water, as over one in ten of world' s population still need improved water supply.
"We rely on water for public health and equitable progress, it is essential for food and energy security, and it underpins the functioning of industries," said Ban in a message for World Water Day.
He noted that access to safe drinking water and sanitation are still urgent issues facing the mankind, with some 750 million people without access to an improved water supply while around 2.5 billion people still live without improved sanitation, and a billion people practice open defecation.
"Women and children, in particular, are affected by this lack, as not only is their health compromised, but considerable hours are wasted in the unproductive and sometimes dangerous business of collecting water," he said.
The UN chief stressed that "we cannot achieve a world of dignity, health and prosperity for all until we address this urgent need."
"To address the many challenges related to water, we must work in a spirit of urgent cooperation, open to new ideas and innovation, and prepared to share the solutions that we all need for a sustainable future," said the UN chief, adding "if we do so, we can end poverty, promote global prosperity and well-being, protect the environment and withstand the threat of climate change. "
An international day to celebrate freshwater was recommended at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro. The United Nations General Assembly responded by designating 22 March 1993 as the first World Water Day.