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Public conversations on valuing water, inspired by Aqua fons vitae

20 March 2021

Valuing water is this year’s theme for World Water Day, celebrated on 22 March, and the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development offers five public conversations in a week of webinars from 22 to 26 March, inspired by the document Aqua fons vitae: Orientations on water, symbol of the cry of the poor and the cry of the Earth that was published last year.

The Dicastery notes “that in the interval between now and the publication of Aqua fons vitae, important negotiations have taken place in the area of so-called ‘hydro-diplomacy’ while the need to protect the oceans and their resources seems to be increasingly understood. The lack of adequate WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) conditions in schools, health facilities, and households is repeatedly identified as a major obstacle in combating the pandemic and Ebola, as well as being a major deficiency in health care. More and more voices warn of the dangers of chemical pollution and micro-plastics in water as new speculative financial activities are focusing on water itself.”

At the same time, the Dicastery acknowledges the numerous education and training initiatives taking place and organized despite the restrictions imposed by the pandemic. There are commendable awareness and advocacy activities underway and initiatives to strengthen sustainable and inclusive agriculture are increasingly taking into account water constraints related to climate change or competitive demands on this precious resource.

“The management of water – this precious common good – in responsibility and solidarity will undoubtedly play a key role in the recovery of our societies from the ongoing pandemic.  This will be essential in peace processes and the consolidation of legality, in the advent of an inclusive, sustainable and just economy.”

The Dicastery is taking this opportunity to organize a series of public dialogues to further promote Aqua fons vitae through five webinars designed for a broad audience, with an informative purpose and a desire to promote interdisciplinary collaboration.

Speakers from different countries, religious congregations, various Church structures, and international and regional organizations will share their insights and testimonies on the themes of Aqua fons vitae. These webinars are organized in partnership with other organizations and will be in different languages at different times, one per day, from 22 to 26 March.

For the first webinar on 22 March, the first public conversation is on Water and Integral Ecology (in English) and will feature four panelists: Prof. Luke Gabriel Mendes, Faculty in  Saint Xavier Engineering and Technical Institute-Bombay and founder of Bombay’s Indigenous Peoples Association; Ms Rowena Soriaga, Steering Committee Member of the River Above Asia and Oceania Ecclesial Network; Ms Panchali Saikia, Programme Officer in the Water and Sanitation Department at Stockholm International Water Institute, and Sister Alphonsa Kiven, Member of the General Council, Tertiary Sisters of Saint Francis.

This webinar is organized in collaboration with the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences-Office of Human Development/Climate Change Desk and for those who wish to join, please register here. The webinar will also be streamed in YouTube.

The other public conversation webinars on water are:

23 March – Agua y desarrollo humano integral, 16.30 h – 18.30 h (CET Time) in collaboration with Catholic Relief Services (Language: Spanish)

24 March – Eau et développement humain integral, 13.30 h -15.30 h (CET Time) in collaboration with CIDSE, a Road to Dakar event organized for the 9th world Water Forum (Language: French)

25 March – Caring for the oceans, 9 am – 11 am (CET Time) in collaboration with the Embassies of Australia, Italy, and Monaco to the Holy See (Language: English)

26 March – Water governance for peace, 11 am -12.30 pm (CET Time) in collaboration with the OECD, a side event of the OECD Water Days 2021.

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