The United Nations (UN) General Assembly adopted a historic resolution on global drowning prevention on 28 April 2021. The resolution recognises the scale and impact of drowning prevention globally, and calls for coordinated multisectoral action to prevent drowning, a leading cause of injury-related death and disability worldwide. A key element of the resolution is that it establishes a new UN-recognised World Drowning Prevention Day. All stakeholders, including governments, non- governmental organisations and their partners, are invited and encouraged to contribute to, and engage in, this global day of activity.
In May 2023, the 76th World Health Assembly (the decision-making body of the WHO) adopted by unanimous consensus (all 193 Member States) decision EB152/CONF./2 “Accelerating Action on Global Drowning Prevention”.
The resolution requests continued leadership and support from the WHO to advance multisectoral global drowning prevention action between 2023 and 2029. An estimated 236,000 people die from drowning each year, with rates for drowning being highest among the most socioeconomically disadvantaged and vulnerable members of society.
The resolution requests Member States assess their national drowning situation and develop and implement multisectoral drowning prevention programming, policy planning, and promote drowning prevention through community engagement.
The resolution requests WHO to establish a Global Alliance for Drowning Prevention with organisations of the United Nations system, international development partners and nongovernmental organisations. The Alliance will develop a Global Drowning Prevention Strategy to guide its operation and strengthen coordination and collaboration among partners.
Furthermore, the resolution requests the WHO prepare a global status report on drowning prevention, as assessment which all 194 WHO Member States will be invited participate in. This will provide critical information for drowning prevention policy-makers and programme implementors.
For more information visit:
Global report on drowning: preventing a leading killer
Preventing drowning: an implementation guide
UN General Assembly resolution “Global drowning prevention” 75/273 (2021)