A global initiative towards making all drinking water lead-free by 2040
Nothing is more fundamental to human health and well-being than access to safe drinking water.
In 2016, world leaders adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) including SDG 6 – a universal call to action to provide access to safe and affordable drinking water to every person, everywhere, by 2030.
As part of our global commitment to provide water that is free from microbial hazards and priority chemical contaminants that impact human health, we launch this global initiative to work towards lead-free drinking water by 2040.
Lead is an invisible, odorless and tasteless chemical contaminant present in water supply systems worldwide. The primary source of lead in many systems is lead-containing pipes and parts that leach lead into the water.
No safe level of lead exposure has been identified. Lead is a toxin that irreversibly impacts neurological and cognitive development. Acute or chronic childhood exposure to lead causes lifelong harm. Exposure of pregnant women to high levels of lead can cause fetal deaths and developmental abnormalities. Yet today environmental exposures to lead remains a significant global challenge.
There is an urgent need to reduce human exposure to lead in the environment, including to lead in drinking water – a source of exposure that is wholly preventable. Children, in particular, must be able to grow in a lead-free environment. The Lead-Free Water Pledge aims to build momentum around local and global initiatives to progressively reduce exposure to lead from drinking water and protect public health. Our goal is to work collectively towards preventing lead-leaching from new drinking water systems by 2030 and to make all drinking water lead free by 2040.
APEC Forum: Safe Water via Global Standards
APEC's water forum, "Reducing Lead in Drinking Water Through Standardization," tackles urgent water crisis. Backed by the US and co-sponsored, the event emphasizes safe water access, compliance, and combating lead contamination. Expert panels stress collaboration's role in achieving clean water goals.
LA Times Gives Lead Pledge a Call Out
The United Nations has highlighted the global water crisis as one of the most pressing issues of our time. According to a UN report, over 3 billion people are affected by water scarcity, and the situation is expected to worsen due to climate change and population growth. The report calls for urgent action to protect water resources and ensure access to safe and clean water for all.
Commitment accepted by the UN
The UNC Water and Health Conference has been recognized by the UN as a mechanism for addressing six Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): 3, 5, 6, 10, 11, and 17. The conference serves as a platform for researchers, practitioners, and policy-makers to collaborate and share knowledge on water and health issues. The conference's theme for this year is "Water and Health: Where Science Meets Policy."
The Pledge is part of the UN’s official Water Action Agenda
The Global Commitment to eliminate lead in drinking water was launched at the 76th United Nations General Assembly. The initiative aims to provide safe drinking water to all by 2030 by removing lead pipes and other sources of contamination. The initiative brings together more than 60 countries, as well as international organizations and non-governmental organizations.
The United Nations held a global conference on water in New York from March 22-24, 2023, focusing on the urgent need to address the global water crisis. The event brought together world leaders, policymakers, experts, and activists to discuss solutions to the water crisis and promote global cooperation. Browse through our photo gallery to view some of the highlights from the conference.
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