UNITED NATIONS, Apr 28 (APP):The United Nations General Assembly Wednesday adopted a resolution aimed at preventing drowning, which claims over 235,000 lives a year worldwide.
In adopting the resolution, sponsored by Ireland and Bangladesh, the 193-member Assembly acknowledged the issue for the first time in its 75-year history.
The vast majority of drowning deaths — over 2.5 million in the last decade — could have been prevented, it was pointed out.
The new resolution said that drowning affects every nation of the world – though its impact is disproportionate — 90 percent of deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries, with Asia carrying the highest burden.
A new UN Day for drowning prevention has been established, to be recognized annually on 25 July.
Recognizing that drowning is preventable and that scalable, low-cost interventions exist, the resolution encourages member states, on a voluntary basis, to undertake a range of coordinated recognized interventions, relevant to national circumstances.
“Children and young people represent the majority of lives lost to the water globally” Rory Nefdt, Senior Advisor Health, UNICEF Headquarters, said.
”This resolution makes a clear case for UNICEF action; to support Member States in implementing child survival solutions that although proven, have long been overlooked. We must end this needless loss of life and give children and young people the tools to reclaim water as a safe space”.
The Resolution recognizes the association between drowning and development. Action on drowning prevention presents an important opportunity to make progress towards targets within several of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
There are clear links between drowning and other global agreements relevant to sustainable development, community resilience to climate change, and disaster risk reduction.
“Through this new UN General Assembly Resolution, Member States are giving drowning its due recognition, commensurate with the impact it has on families and communities around the world,” noted Dr Etienne Krug, Director of the Department of Social Determinants of Health, World Health Organization (WHO).
“Given that children and adolescents in rural areas are disproportionately affected by drowning, preventing this public health scourge is one step towards building a fairer, healthier world.”