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Leveraging Water for Peace

Often, we take water completely for granted. At least, I do. In Ontario, we are especially blessed with an abundance of the wet stuff, with four of the five Great Lakes in Ontario, abundant smaller lakes and sometimes too much precipitation.

March 22 is World Water Day, an annual event created by the United Nations to help us remember and reflect on the importance of fresh water and of protecting this vital resource. This year, the theme is Leveraging Water for Peace.

We certainly have our issues with water in Canada, for instance the plight of some northern communities and native people who do not have easy access to the water they need.

However, the United Nations is also calling us to be aware of people in other countries and their relationship to water. 2.2 billion people worldwide are living without safely managed drinking water, according to the UN website.

But how is peace related to water? In many ways. One aspect is that bodies of water do not follow national boundaries. A lake may lie across borders, and nations then can act in peaceful ways to co-operate, protect and share, or there may be conflict and lack of respect.

Water is not a resource to be mined and exploited for profit. Water is a human right, says the UN, and intrinsic to our lives.

Thank you, United Nations, for the reminder. Let’s be mindful of the blessings of water and let’s see how we might use water for peace in Canada and in the wider world.

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