This winter, WaterAid is reminding us of the power of this natural resource, which unites us biologically and physically. Clean water is a basic human need that transcends the countries, cultures and the kilometres between us. Just to survive, we need around 2.4 litres of water every day. Yet, while there is enough water in the world to meet everyone's basic needs, 663million people across the world struggle to even access enough clean water to drink.
I've been one of thousands wringing their hands in consternation for the future, and that's as a resident of incubated West London, immune from so many almighty challenges - economic, cultural, environmental - faced by inhabitants of much more precarious places. But bizarrely, it was a young man in an environment that typifies the latter who I had the good fortune to talk to earlier this year, and his words seem like beacons of compassion, confidence and hope as I start pondering how 2017 can be better.
One year on from the adoption of the UN's new Sustainable Development Goals, they look something akin to a Rubik's Cube. The 17 Goals, and 169 targets within those, applicable to 193 countries, are a colourful and immensely challenging combination puzzle. One cannot be solved without the others; they are inter-dependent.
We need to talk openly about this issue to remove the stigma that surround periods, and ensure finding solutions for menstrual hygiene management are included in efforts to improve health, education, and access to sanitation facilities. Fu Yuanhui is one sportswoman who inadvertently shined a spotlight on this issue. But together, we can all help break the stigma surrounding periods.
Scouts in Madagascar are delivering menstrual hygiene education and helping dispel the mystery and myths that surround periods. They also campaign for clean water and toilets for all. This is a huge issue. More than one billion women have no access to a private toilet, making it difficult to manage their periods hygienically.
A key message of the Global Nutrition Report is that ending malnutrition is a political choice that is achievable, but only with an increase in effective funding and infrastructure and much more efficient coordination across relevant sectors. This is true for malnutrition, for access to water, sanitation and hygiene, and for eradicating extreme poverty.
Taps and toilets, things we so easily take for granted, really do transform lives. I'm so proud that Scouts in the UK have chosen to take action on this important issue. In just one week, we learned so much about how we can join together with our Scout family in Madagascar, and across the world, to help get clean water and toilets for everyone, everywhere.
We need to get different sectors talking. Climate change and water are intertwined and we need to speak each other's language when it comes to planning and funding adaptation efforts. We can no longer have countries develop water policies that don't include climate risks, nor can climate planners operate without consulting key water ministries.
Since we marked the first UN-declared World Water Day in 1993, the world has made incredible progress. Yet there remain more than 650million people in the world without access to clean water, who are faced with a daily struggle involving long dangerous walks or expensive black-market vendors, just to get water that is likely neither clean nor safe to drink.
Ebola no longer makes the headlines, driven out by news of Zika virus and the crisis in Syria. But the terrible legacy of Ebola persists in West Africa, for the survivors who suffer stigma and fear long-term complications, and for all of those who are vulnerable and in need of healthcare at a time when the health system has been brought to its knees.
Jenny Lewis' new book One Day Young, features portraits of women in their Hackney homes within 24 hours of giving birth. A few of these images are of acquaintance's, but most were stranger's at that point, all depicting an arresting intimacy and timelessness that would sit perfectly amongst the collections at The National Portrait Gallery.