Climate Change Deepening World Water Crisis

Linked with no water for peoples need.

Published by IPS, by Thalif Deen, March 19, 2008.

When U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addressed the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland last January, his primary focus was not on the impending global economic recession but on the world’s growing water crisis.

“A shortage of water resources could spell increased conflicts in the future,” he told the annual gathering of business tycoons, academics and leaders from governments, intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations.

“Population growth will make the problem worse. So will climate change. As the global economy grows, so will its thirst. Many more conflicts lie just over the horizon,” he warned …

… Berntell took a different perspective. “Unquestionably,” he said, “water, and in particular sanitation, remain far too low on the international agenda.”

Access to clean water and sanitation underpin all human development efforts, and water issues are central to climate change adaptation and sustainable development. “But much more needs to be done to address the spectrum of challenges,” he told IPS.

The U.N. system, and the “UN-Water” collaborative effort in particular, works extremely hard and well and is consistently improving its efforts to better coordinate and make more effective its work, he said.

The U.N.’s declaration of 2008 as the International Year of Sanitation has catalysed increased action and attention to critical health and hygiene issues this year, Berntell added.

“Still, the U.N. must strengthen its efforts to coordinate its monitoring and reporting. They cannot afford to continue delivering too many reports on overlapping issues at the same time.”

A good starting point, he said, would be the “five ones” identified by Britain: one annual global monitoring report; one high-level global ministerial meeting on water; at country level, one national plan for water and sanitation; one coordinating body; and activities of U.N. agencies on water and sanitation to be coordinated by one lead body under the U.N. Development Programme (UNDP) and its country plan. (full text).

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