World Water Day 2005, celebrated on 22 March and coordinated this year by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN-DESA) will both introduce and be guided by the theme of the International Decade for Action, 'Water for Life'.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), in 2002 some 1.1 billion people lacked access to improved water sources, 2.6 to basic sanitation, and approximately 1.8 million people die every year from diarrhoeal disease, 90 percent of them children under the age of five.
The theme of World Water Day 2005 and the Decade emphasizes the central role water plays in sustaining human life. Water is critical for human well-being, environmental health, biodiversity, energy generation, industrial development, food production, and it plays an essential role in many cultures and religions.
The Decade, established by the UN in Resolution A/RES/58/217, provides the international community with an opportunity to refocus political and global commitment on water-related issues in order to achieve the water-related goals established in the Millennium Declaration.