Vienna, 20 March 2015 - Water covers more than two-thirds of our planet and preserves the life of every one of us. Access to safe drinking water is, therefore, one of our most basic human needs; but every day millions of women, children and men struggle desperately to meet this need.
Hundreds of millions of people have an insufficient supply of this lifesaving liquid, while many more have inadequate sanitation. On current projections, this situation is likely to become much worse as we move deeper into the 21st Century.
Today, we celebrate World Water Day. This year's theme is "Water and Sustainable Development." The theme reflects the work of the United Nations in building sustainable development goals that can help deliver security, peace and prosperity to billions of people around the world.
But to help achieve these aims, access to potable water for all must be safeguarded and protected. Crime, particularly the corrosion of corruption, can undermine the management of freshwater. Money meant for essential public services can be diverted for personal gain. The result is water insecurity causing pollution, lack of hygiene and poor food preparation. This causes appalling misery and even death.
To confront corruption in the water sector, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime promotes the ratification and full implementation of the UN Convention against Corruption by every nation on this planet. The Convention, through its provisions, can help countries to shield their public services from the disastrous effects of corruption, and in doing so improve the lives of people everywhere.
On World Water Day, I call on everyone to reject corruption. By doing so, governments, inter-governmental organizations, the private sector, civil society and the public will be promoting societies where creditability and ethics are the driving forces for the way our precious resources, including water, are fairly allocated and distributed.
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