UN-Habitat Executive Director, Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Message on World Water Day 2021

This year, we celebrate World Water Day on the theme of Valuing Water. There is no better example to show how valuable access to safe water and sanitation is, than the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Without these essential services, public health and hence the livelihoods of our communities cannot be ensured.

Urbanization continues to accelerate around the world, putting increasing pressure on our cities to provide basic services. There as are still more than a billion people living in slums and informal settlements. These long-standing challenges are further compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic and the climate crisis.

Local governments and water and sanitation service providers have a tremendous role in achieving universal coverage as envisioned in Sustainable Development Goals and the New Urban Agenda (…) Since 2009, UN-Habitat has been supporting peer-to-peer exchange between water and sanitation utilities through the Global Water Operators’ Partnerships Alliance. Hundreds of successful partnerships have helped build the capacity of utility workers to do their jobs better, and improved the services they provide to millions of people in their service areas.”

UN-Habitat’s Executive Director, Maimunah Mohd Sharif, shares five key messages as we mark this important day.