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The United Nations General Assembly has unanimously adopted a resolution on drowning prevention which was introduced by Bangladesh.

The permanent representative of Bangladesh to the UN, Ambassador Rabab Fatima, introduced the first ever one-off UNGA resolution on “Global Drowning Prevention.”

The resolution, co-led by Ireland and co-sponsored by 81 member states, was adopted on Wednesday (New York time), the Bangladesh Permanent Mission to UN said on Thursday, describing the development as historic.

This is for the first time the ‘silent epidemic’ was recognized in UN’s 75-year history. The resolution recognizes that drowning affects every nation of the world and provides a framework for action for an effective response to the unacceptably high number of drowning deaths.

It further identifies that drowning is a preventable cause of mortality that disproportionately affects children and adolescents within and among nations.

A new UN Day for drowning prevention, July 25, was also proclaimed to promote awareness and encourage national action, as well as share best practices and key solutions to drowning.

The Bangladesh permanent mission to the UN has been working since 2018 to ensure that this global and preventable epidemic secures much-deserved political space internationally.

Introducing the resolution at the plenary of the General Assembly, Ambassador Rabab Fatima said, "The government of Bangladesh recognizes the urgency to have a resolution to generate greater political commitment to prevention of drowning and is honoured to lead this effort at the UN.”

In view of the fact that 90% of drowning deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries, with Asia carrying the highest burden, she observed, “Drowning is not just an injury, it is an inequity."

Around 18,000 deaths take place each year in Bangladesh from drowning, the ambassador told the global body.

According to the World Health Organization's latest estimates, drowning is the cause of 235,000 deaths every year across the globe. Many countries report drowning as a leading cause of childhood mortality, particularly in children under-5.