This year´s World Water Day was themed “Leaving no one behind”. Today billions of people are still living without access to safe water. And the increasing demand for water fuels numerous conflicts: Agricultural versus domestic use; water resources shared between countries; industrial bottled water production affecting local drinking water availability are just a few of them. The UN calls this year the International Year of Moderation aiming to raise awareness that moderation promotes peace, security and development. We need to choose negotiation over confrontation and promote dialogue, tolerance, understanding and cooperation. We have to communicate in one or more of the world´s many languages.
While the UN has five official languages there are more than 7,000 languages spoken around the globe. And more than one third is at risk of being lost. Through language we define our identity, express our culture, preserve customs and traditions and participate in all aspects of society. Language is pivotal in the areas of human rights protection, good governance, peace building, reconciliation, and sustainable development. This year is also the International Year of the Periodic Table which should enhance global awareness of, and increase education in the basic sciences with special attention to the countries of the developing world. Science can improve the quality of everyday life and support that no one is left behind. Science can support understanding and identifying and reducing conflicts. It can also help us to find a common language for discussions, which is indispensable for the aim of leaving no one behind.
Whoever you are, wherever you are, water is your human right.