The United Nations' World Water Day is marked on the 22nd of every March and focuses on celebrating the quintessential role of water.
Twenty-two years ago the United Nations established UN World Water day to bring global attention to water related issues and the role that society has in preserving water and to educate and encourage people to take action on water conservation.
The 2015 World Water Day theme is, “Water and Sustainable Development.” According to UN Water, “Water is at the core of sustainable development. Water resources, and the range of services they provide underpin poverty reduction, economic growth and environmental sustainability.” Water is not only essential to life itself, but also to the overall quality of life and services that are provided to the citizens of the world.
Rivers of Peace Campaign, an ongoing project of Global Peace Nepal has brought multiple sectors of communities that are sustained by the Bagmati River together to find creative and cooperative ways to preserve the sacred river for future generations.
The Bagmati River Peace Initiative under the River of Peace Campaign is an approach of building social cohesion and preserving heritage through the development of the culture of service amongst the youths and conserving environment, promoting health and sanitation through public participation and partnership.
This initiative has been building lasting partnership and engaging local civic groups, schools, and youth through public awareness programs, capacity building and education workshops and regular clean-up projects. By emphasizing the historical, practical, religious and developmental significance of the Baghmati River, GPF Nepal had drawn the conscience and action of the public in this 4-year ongoing environmental conservation effort.
Each year for World Water Day, GPF Nepal, through Rivers of Peace Campaign, brings together a multifaceted group of volunteers and professionals, NGOs and community leaders to re-inspire the community to take ownership of the local water sources.
GPF Nepal commemorate this years World Water day organizing various activities for two weeks. More than 15 organizations were involved in conducting various activities related to water resources and sustainable development. The week long program was able to bring the diverse issues of the water resources and sustainable development in a single platform.
These local pairings have recently been fortified through the newly established support from the Asia-Pacific Peace and Development Service Alliance. The Asia-Pacific Peace and Development Service Alliance was established in 2014 as a “youth and multilateral stakeholder consortia committed to further empowering youth and communities across the region through youth engagement and volunteerism.”
The project is a snapshot of what is possible when youth engage in volunteerism. The ongoing cleanup projects and awareness campaigns, driven mostly by youth have made an impact. Two years ago they established the Guheshwori Peace Park, breathing new life to a former dumpsite that lined the river. Last year alone, over 544 regular volunteers joined together to put in 2098 hours of service to cleaning and revitalizing the Bagmati River. In addition 2500 volunteers were engaged during the Nepal Environment Week.
GPF Nepal is working to inspire the Nepalese community to take ownership of their natural resources and to strengthen their ties to one another.
GPF Nepal hopes that this year’s World Water Day theme will hold a particular resonance in the Nepalese community. Through ownership and collective community based projects, GPF Nepal will continue to emphasize the importance of the Bagmati River and other water resources in the sustainable development for Nepal’s future.