Following confirmation that the 76th World Health Assembly of the World Health Organisation (WHO) has adopted a comprehensive drowning prevention resolution, World Aquatics has offered its full support for the measures discussed in the resolution. Drowning is one of the leading causes of death for children around the world. In some countries it is the leading cause of death. Teaching swimming and water safety is vital to reducing this.
“World Aquatics welcomes this vital step forward for drowning prevention and applauds the participants in the World Health Assembly for passing this important resolution,” said World Aquatics President Husain Al-Musallam. “The water can be a place of joy, a place to build fitness and friendships, a place simply to cool down on a hot day or a place to achieve the dreams of a lifetime. Teaching the ability to swim is the key that unlocks all these things, while ensuring the safety of young and old alike. Swimming and water safety are fundamental life skills. They should be part of the education of every child.”
World Aquatics’ members are involved daily in the work of teaching the world’s young people to swim. Often this work receives extra emphasis during the hosting of international competitions, as with Savoir Nager, a programme being delivered by the Fédération Française de Natation in Seine Saint Denis ahead of Paris 2024. Much of the Olympic aquatics programme will take place in that region. New and renovated facilities are already serving the public there, together with learn-to-swim programmes, with the region having previously been the least well-served for pools and swimming ability.
Recent challenges like teaching the millions of children who did not learn to swim during the pandemic, or the closures of swimming pools due to energy price rises, require the support of state actors. And it is state actors who have the power to mandate that swimming be part of national school curricula, with the appropriate resources being made available.
“By urging Member States to act, the WHO resolution is a vital step in the right direction and World Aquatics salutes all those who have helped to make it reality,” continued Al-Musallam. “The next World Drowning Prevention Day falls during the World Aquatics World Championships in Fukuoka, and World Aquatics will use this day to celebrate not just how swimming can save lives, but how it can change them immeasurably for the better. We also look forward to supporting the global alliance that is being formed to help make sure that everyone – especially children – can be safe in the water.”
The details of the resolution passed today by the WHO can be found here: