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Messages from the Secretary-General

Concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere continue to rise.  So too does the temperature of oceans and land.  Climate change is accelerating at an alarming rate.  The window of opportunity for limiting global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius – the threshold agreed by world governments in Paris in December last year – is narrow and rapidly shrinking. The effects of a warming planet will be felt by all.  Sea levels are rising, and extreme weather is becoming the new normal.  Heavy rain and floods will put more lives and property at risk.  Longer and harsher droughts…
This year’s World Water Day focuses on the links between water and jobs.  Almost half of all workers – 1.5 billion people – work in water-related sectors, and nearly all jobs depend on the availability of freshwater. Despite its paramount importance, water as a sector generally does not receive the attention it deserves.  Water is central to human survival, the environment and the economy. All workers can be harmed by poor water and sanitation.  Of 2 million work-related deaths every year, nearly one-in-five are caused by poor quality drinking water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene. People with the least access…
The world’s forests are essential to realizing our shared vision for people and the planet.  They are central to our future prosperity and the stability of the global climate.  That is why the Sustainable Development Goals call for transformative action to safeguard them. In this first year of implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the International Day of Forests focuses on their role in supporting water systems.  Forested catchments provide three-quarters of all the freshwater used for farms, industry and homes.   City dwellers in Bogota, Durban, Jakarta, Madrid, New York, Rio de Janeiro and many other major cities…