PRESS RELEASE March 22, 2000


World Water Day, March 22, is an annual global event with the objective of raising awareness in water related issues such as water conservation and the inappropriate use of water. World Water Day activities in the past have reached a great number of Pacific Islanders through school competitions and the production and dissemination of publication material.

The South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC) has the mandate from its member countries for the coordination of activities in water and sanitation in the region, and will again take the lead role in coordinating "World Water Day." The United Nations has declared the theme for this year as "Water for the 21st Century."

This year, SOPAC has organized a number of activities. A wide range of publicity material has been distributed to all member countries in the Pacific. In addition, a "Young Inventors" and a "Water Wizards for the 21st Century" competition have been launched regionally.

In Fiji, SOPAC will also host a "Fun Day" for school children at Sukuna Park from noon to 2:00 p.m., on World Water Day. There will be poster displays and practical demonstrations by:

SOPAC Water Resources Unit; Department of Environment; Public Works Department; Mineral Resources Department; Fiji Electricity Authority; Fiji School of Medicine students and the Pacific Water Association

On the evening of World Water Day, SOPAC will host a Presentation and Cocktail Evening at the Mineral Resources Department Conference Room, Suva.

The theme for this year's World Water Day challenges us to find a solution to the water-related problems that are prominent in the world today, at the dawn of the 21st century.

The objective of the evening is to provide guests - professionals within the water sector - with a thought provoking and challenging forum for discussion in the context of the Pacific Islands.

The Chief Guest will be H.E. Mr. Michael Dibben, the British High Commissioner.

Presentations will be given by:

Hon. Dr. Ganesh Chand - Minister for National Planning, Local Government, Housing & Environment; Dr. Gauden Galea - Medical Officer, World Health Organization; Ms. Maureen Penjueli -Toxics Campaigner, Greenpeace Pacific; Mr. Sosi Turagaiviu - Senior Engineer, Public Works Department; Dr. Bill Aalbersberg - Institute of Applied Sciences, University of the South Pacific.

The United Kingdom through its Department For International Development (DFID) have kindly agreed for a second year running to fund World Water Day activities being organized in the Pacific by SOPAC.

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