The United Nations passed its first ever Resolution on Global Drowning Prevention (A/RES/75/273) during the seventy-fifth session of the UN General Assembly on Wednesday 28th April 2021.
The Resolution was brought to the United Nations by Ireland and Bangladesh, and co-sponsored by 79 countries including many European. UK charity Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RLNI) has provided tireless support to the process.
This is an historic occasion and a sign that the UN is deeply concerned that drowning has been the cause of over 2.5 million preventable deaths in the past decade but has been largely unrecognized relative to its impact.
In welcoming the Resolution, the International Life Saving (ILS) President Mr Graham Ford AM said, “The International Life Saving Federation welcomes the UN Resolution on Global Drowning Prevention, and expresses its extreme gratitude to Bangladesh and Ireland, all nations who co-sponsored and supported this historic and lifesaving resolution”.
ILSE President Dr Detlev Mohr PhD thanked especially the Irish Government, Water Safety Ireland and the ILSE Associate Member RNLI for many years of negotiatians. He welcomed the UN Resolution: „Drowning Prevention is also a huge problem in Europe. In the European Region, drowning causes the loss of 23.000 lives every year, not counting the victims of floods and those of the refugee crisis. It is the second leading cause of death in children aged 5–14 years and the fourth leading cause among young people aged 15–29 years.“
„The death rates from drowning are five times higher in males than in females, and eight times higher in the low- and middle-income countries of the Region, compared to the high-income countries. Whereas death rates for drowning have improved overall across the European Region in the past decade, alarmingly, in children under 15 years, the gap between the death rates in low- and middle-income countries and high-income countries has widened.“ WHO Europe noted and published recently a video to raise the awareness for drowning in Europe.
Therefore ILSE co-operates together with WHO Europe to assist European countries in their drowning prevention efforts. In the main focus of ILSE are the high burden countries in Europe.
The Resolution proclaims 25 July each year as the ‘World Drowning Prevention Day’ to raise awareness of the importance of drowning prevention and the need for urgent coordinated multisectoral action to improve water safety, with the aim of reducing preventable deaths.
The Resolution affirms that drowning is preventable and encourages all UN Member States to develop drowning prevention programming in line with ILS and World Health Organization recommended interventions, namely, barriers, supervision, swim skills, rescue and resuscitation training, boating regulation and managing flood risk and resilience.
ILSE encourages all Members to review the UN Resolution on Drowning Prevention, draw it to the attention of their members, stakeholders and communities, and factor its recommendations into their plans and efforts for drowning prevention. The resolution can be found in the six UN languages here: https://www.undocs.org/en/A/75/L.76 , later on https://undocs.org/en/A/RES/75/273 .