Sunday, 24 January 2021

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Water Transforms Lives

World Water Day

22.03.2016 – Water is central to human survival, the environment and the economy. Decent work can provide income and pave the way for broader social and economic advancement.

The theme of this year’s World Water Day, “Water and Jobs”, highlights how both water and jobs have the power to transform people’s lives. Today, almost half of the world's workers - 1.5 billion people - work in water related sectors and nearly all jobs depend on water and those that ensure its safe delivery. Yet the millions of people who work in water are often not recognized or protected by basic labour rights.

The basic provision of adequate water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services at home and in the workplace enables a robust economy by contributing to a healthy and productive population and workforce. People who have the least access to water and sanitation are usually the most likely to have poor access to health care and stable jobs, thus feeding the cycle of poverty. In this regard, equality gaps persist between urban and rural dwellers, across genders, and between the richest and poorest segments of the population.

Water has the ability to create paid and decent jobs. It can contribute to a greener economy and sustainable development. But for this to happen, we need more qualified workers. And we need those workers to work in dignity, equality, safety and have a fair income.  World Water Day highlights Sustainable Development Goal 6, which aims to ensure clean water and sanitation for all.

Water, economy and jobs

        It is estimated that 95% of jobs in the agriculture sector, 30% of jobs in the industry sector, and 10% of jobs in the services sector are heavily dependent on water. It is estimated that 5% of jobs in the agriculture sector, 60% of jobs in the industry sector and 30% of jobs in the services sector are moderately dependent on water. Nonetheless, not every job in the various subsector categories is equally dependent on water.

        An estimated 40% of the global economically-active population work in crop and animal production, fisheries or hunting. Yet, only 20% are employed as waged workers (World Bank, 2005), and the remaining are self-employed or contribute family labour to around 570 million farms.

        Worldwide, some of the most water-intensive industry sectors employ great numbers of people: 22 million in food and drink (with 40% women), 20 million in chemical, pharmaceutical, and rubber and tyres, as well as 18 million in electronics.

        Water supply and wastewater facilities operators employ about 80% of the workers in the water industry (UNESCO-UNEVOC, 2012).

        The energy sector, with growing water withdrawal that currently accounts for about 15% of the world’s total, provides direct employment.


UNRICs Related Links

· World Water Day

· International Labour Organization

· Sustainable Development Goals

Photo: World Bank Photo Collection via / CC BY-NC-ND

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