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9th World Water Forum, World Water Day 2022: Opening address by Gilbert Houngbo, President of IFAD and Chair of UN-Water

22 مارس 2022

As Chair of UN-Water – the United Nations’ coordination mechanism for water and sanitation – I would like to welcome you to our World Water Day celebration.

I would also like to say a heartfelt thank you to my colleagues in the World Water Day Task Force, particularly in UNESCO and IGRAC – the International Groundwater Resources Assessment Centre, for your hard work, and for creating an excellent campaign.

This year, World Water Day focuses on groundwater and its critical role in solving the global water crisis.

Today, at this celebration event, and later at the high-level panel and the expert special session, we will discuss the findings of our flagship report, the United Nations World Water Development Report: “Groundwater: making the invisible visible”.

Why the focus on groundwater? Because it is our biggest source of liquid freshwater. It sustains our drinking water supplies, sanitation systems, farms, industry and ecosystems. But, it is being overused, polluted and neglected.

Dear friends, in 2022, I look forward to working together to look after and optimize the use of groundwater while balancing the needs of people and nature.

To harness its full potential and use groundwater in the most responsible and sustainable way, it must be thoroughly explored, analyzed and monitored.

For policy-makers in the water sector and beyond, groundwater may be out of sight. Now, we need to ensure it is not out of mind. We must fully integrate it into our action plans.

I wish you all a productive week here in Dakar at the 9th World Water Forum.

Together, let us celebrate World Water Day and shine a light on precious groundwater – let’s make the invisible visible!

Thank you.