Water- the elixir of life, covers 75 percent of the Earth’s surface. You might know that out of this 97.5 per cent is salt water, and only 2.5 per cent makes fresh water. We have been facing severe water shortage for quite some time now. To be precise, as early as 2002, it was estimated that 2.4 billion people lack adequate sanitation and 1.1 billion people had no access to improved water supply, 3990 children die daily from water-borne diseases. The next year- 2003, was named the ‘International Year of Freshwater’. In tandem with it, the theme for WED 2003 was declared as- ‘Water- Two billion people are dying for it!’  

WED 2003 logo

WED 2003 was held in the ancient Egyptian seaport city of Beirut, Lebanon, which is also a very famous tourist attraction; WED was being held for the first time in the Arab world. With 40 per cent of the world’s population facing serious water shortage, and the conditions worst in West Asia and Africa, pledge was taken to improve sanitation conditions, protect wetlands, and in general to try to provide freshwater access to all. Goals were set to ‘reduce by half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water by 2015′- which means giving access to clean water to an additional 274,000 people each day, and ‘reduce by half the proportion of people without access to sanitation by 2015’- which means giving access to proper toilets to an additional 342,000 people each day.  

To suit the occasion, the logo of international year of freshwater was incorporated in world environment day logo. WED 2003 tried to convey the theme effectively by capturing images from all around the world, some of which are given below.

  

  

Several interesting facts and information about WED 2003 are available at http://www.unep.org/wed/2003/about.htm.  

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