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  December 1999    

World Day for Water efforts make media splash
A major media splash on UN World Day for Water 1999 resulted from a publicity campaign by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the UNU's Canadian-based International Network on Water, Environment and Health (UNU/INWEH).

The two organizations were tasked with the campaign last fall by a subcommittee of the UN Administrative Committee for Coordination. UNU/INWEH prepared a news release (see http:// and organized media interviews for senior officials with the help of Washington-based Hoffman & Hoffman Public Relations. UNEP, in partnership with the Television Trust for the Environment, developed a documentary for the BBC World Service. The World Day for Water news release, "Unsafe Water: 3.3 Billion Illnesses and 5.3 Million Deaths Yearly; Price Tag for Safe Water: $50 to $105 Per Person," was distributed throughout North America in March. UNU/INWEH scheduled 16 interviews in Washington, D.C., for UNU Rector Hans van Ginkel as well as interviews in New York for UNEP Executive Director Klaus Töpfer and in Canada for UNU/INWEH Director Ralph Daley.

Extensive results included a front-page article in the Financial Times, full-page coverage in Newsweek magazine and wide coverage on the BBC World Service. Interviews with Rector van Ginkel were also distributed worldwide by the Associated Press television and print news services and by the Reuters newswire, resulting in stories in major newspapers worldwide.

UNU/INWEH Director Ralph Daley was later featured in media across Canada in connection with his role with the World Commission on Water for the 21st Century. Stories were based on research showing the world's poorest people pay the most for drinking water.

UNU/INWEH and the UNU's Institute for Natural Resources in Africa (UNU/INRA) achieved global media results again with a news release and 23 interviews in the US to mark World Food Day, Oct. 16. The World Food Day story, describing the potential impact of Africa's worsening soil fertility degradation problem, resulted in major feature stories by the Associated Press and Reuters news services. The story was relayed by media worldwide, including CNN, the BBC World Service, China Central Television, the Financial Times and the San Francisco Chronicle. (The World Food Day news release is online at

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