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UN Resolution on Drowning Prevention

   UN Resolution on Drowning Prevention

For the first time in its 75 year history, the United Nations (UN) has adopted a resolution on drowning prevention. Initiated by Bangladesh and Ireland, and co-sponsored by 79 countries, the resolution recognises the devastating effect of drowning across the world.

The most recent estimates from the World Health Organization show that around 236,000 people died from drowning last year making it one of the leading causes of unintentional injury deaths worldwide[i].

The UN’s resolution has been passed by the General Assembly and affirms the fact that drowning is preventable and stresses the need for member states to have a coordinated response. The Resolution requests all 193 Member States of the United Nations to do the following:
  • Appoint a national focal point for drowning prevention
  • Develop a national drowning prevention plan
  • Develop drowning prevention programming in line with the WHO’s recommendations
  • Ensure enactment and effective enforcement of water safety laws
  • Encourage the registration of drowning deaths
  • Promote drowning prevention public awareness
RoSPA is fully supportive of this resolution worldwide and believes that this will help to improve water safety and reduce fatalities. Specifically in the UK, progress has already been made in drowning prevention through work with the National Water Safety Forum, Water Safety Scotland and Water Safety Wales. The UK has a specific drowning prevention strategy (with devolved equivalents) which aims to reduce accidental drowning fatalities as well as contributing to the reduction of water based suicide. A key aspect of this is that, “Collaboration is essential if we are to succeed in reducing fatalities”[ii] and having a UN Resolution will help the cause both within the UK and across the wider world.

Importantly, the resolution has also declared the 25 July as World Drowning Prevention Day which will help increase water safety awareness and highlight the issue. The NWSF and partners will be contributing to this day through shared communications and messaging on drowning prevention for the UK.

For more information on the water safety strategies in the UK, use these links:
UK Drowning Prevention Strategy
Scotland’s Drowning Prevention Strategy
Wales’ Drowning Prevention Strategy

Carlene McAvoy, Leisure Safety Manger
[i] WHO (2021). Drowning.  Available online:
[ii] NWSF (2016) UK Drowning Prevention Strategy. Available online: uk-drowning-prevention-strategy.pdf (

Posted: 4/30/2021 3:40:39 PM 0 comments


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