Each year, a different United Nations (UN) agency is selected to coordinate events surrounding World Water Day (WWD) around the world, and a different theme is chosen to reflect the many facets of freshwater resources. World Water Day 2006 will be guided by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) under the theme 'Water and Culture.'
We plan our cities near water; we bathe in water; we play in water; we work with water. Our economies are built on the strength of water transportation - and the products we buy and sell are all partly water, in one way or another. Our daily lives are built on water, and shaped by it. Without the water that surrounds us - the humidity of the air, the roughness of the river's current, the flow from the kitchen tap - our lives would be impossible. In recent decades, water has fallen in our esteem. No longer an element to be revered and protected, it is a consumer product that we have shamefully neglected. Eighty percent of our bodies are formed of water, and two thirds of the planet's surface is covered by water: water is our culture, our life.
The theme 'Water and Culture' of WWD 2006 draws attention to the fact that there are as many ways of viewing, using, and celebrating water as there are cultural traditions across the world. Sacred, water is at the heart of many religions and is used in different rites and ceremonies. Fascinating and ephemeral, water has been represented in art for centuries - in music, painting, writing, cinema - and it is an essential factor in many scientific endeavours as well. Each region of the world has a different way of holding water sacred, but each recognizes its value, and its central place in human lives. Cultural traditions, indigenous practices, and societal values determine how people perceive and manage water in the world's different regions.
As the UN's focal point for the promotion of cultural diversity, UNESCO aims to preserve and respect the specificity of each culture, bringing them all together and extending them in a more interactive and interdependent world.