A new world order for water and sanitation

A new world order for water and sanitation

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By Thalif Deen

According to a report published on Wednesday 18, the supreme importance of water and sanitation for development and well-being deserves the creation of “a new and powerful global sphere within the UN (United Nations Organization)”, dedicated to solving the conflicts and common problems and to track progress under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted at a global forum summit in September.

UNSGAB recommendations include an intergovernmental platform on water and sanitation, supported by independent commissions made up of scientists, advisers and monitors from around the world.

Created by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in 2004 to advance the water-related goals of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), UNSGAB warns that today's institutional infrastructure requires strong renovation in order to meet the SDGs related to sanitation and water.

The 17 SDGs aim to ensure safe drinking water and sanitation, as well as the eradication of poverty and hunger, by 2030.

"There is currently a mismatch between the integrated and ambitious vision of freshwater and sanitation management by 2030 and the international political structures available to contribute to its implementation," says the report, presented by the president of UNSGAB, Uschi Eid, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

The proposed body would involve the private sector and other actors, supported by a secretariat - UN-Water - and a commission of independent experts mandated to collect reliable information on water and sanitation and promote research.

Furthermore, it would support international decision-making "in a balanced, fact-based, transparent and comprehensive manner."

An information brochure published by UNSGAP notes that the business community ranks water scarcity as the top global risk, based on its impact on society, while global demand for water is forecast to grow by about 55 percent between 2000 and 2050 .

Currently 1,700 million people live in river basins where water consumption exceeds its replacement.

About 10 percent of the world's population, or 663 million people, still lack improved sources of drinking water, while people without access to safe water number 80 percent in rural areas.

The number of people without such access is increasing in urban areas and in sub-Saharan Africa, and at least 1.8 billion people use a source of drinking water that is contaminated with feces.

Some 700 million more people should have basic sanitation to meet the MDG target by 2015.

One in three inhabitants, or 2.4 billion, still lack improved sanitation facilities, and one in eight people, or 946 million, defecate in the open.

The estimated loss in developing countries due to lack of access to improved sources of water and basic sanitation amounts to 1.5 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), while the priority given to public spending on water varies widely between countries. countries, from less than 0.5 percent to more than two percent of GDP.

The statistics correspond to several international organizations and UN agencies, such as the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Children's Fund, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the World Economic Forum.

Water is the source of life, health and livelihoods around the world, Ban declared on Wednesday 19.

Providing clean water is one of the basic responsibilities of national and local governments, he added. Water drives business decisions and, in many places, determines the pace of daily life, he noted.

If water is scarce when it is most needed it can mean drought and food insecurity. And excess water - in the form of floods, storms or waves - can devastate entire cities, rich and poor, Ban said.

Contaminated water, whether from human or industrial sources, takes the lives of children and affects the health of communities around the world, with far-reaching consequences, he warned.

Currently, floods, droughts and windstorms account for nearly 90 percent of the 1,000 most disastrous weather events since 1990, he said.

“They caused more than a trillion dollars in damages and affected more than 4,000 million people. The poor and the most vulnerable were the first to suffer and in the worst way, ”added Ban.

Among other recommendations, the UNSGAB proposes:

  • Increase and improve financial flows, with higher priority given to the water and sanitation sector, as well as water resources management, in national budgets.
  • Give greater emphasis to the reality that water scarcity and pollution and deterioration of water-related ecosystems are a threat to global sustainable development.
  • Develop national policies and master plans for wastewater that include cost estimates, timelines and sustainable financing plans, to ensure that capital investment plans are matched to external and internal funding sources.
  • That water-related disasters are addressed as part of development planning, including necessary social protection.


Video: What is Americas Place in the New World Order Post COVID-19? Amanpour and Company (June 2022).


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