UN warns, says water crisis a threat to global security, stability Pipa News

UN warns, says water crisis a threat to global security, stability

In a report published just hours ahead of a major summit on the issue starting on Wednesday, the United Nations has warned that humanity’s “life blood” – water – is rapidly becoming scarce around the world due to “vampiric over-consumption and overdevelopment”. Is in danger.

The world is “blindly walking a dangerous path” as “unsustainable water use, pollution and unchecked global warming are draining the life-blood of humanity,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the report’s foreword, released hours before the first major UN meeting on water resources in nearly half a century.

The UN water conference co-hosted by the governments of Tajikistan and the Netherlands will gather about 6,500 participants from Wednesday to Friday in New York, including one hundred ministers and a dozen heads of state and government.

Richard Connor, the report’s lead author, told AFP that the impact of a “world water crisis” would be “a matter of scenarios”.

“If nothing is done, this will be a business-as-usual scenario – there will be between 40 per cent and 50 per cent of the world’s population without access to sanitation and about 20-25 per cent of the world with their access to a safe water supply. Will not.

With the global population growing every day, “in absolute numbers, there will be more and more people who don’t have access to these services,” he said.

Read more: ‘Over 10 million flood-affected in Pakistan still without safe drinking water’

At the UN conference, governments and actors in the public and private sectors are invited to present proposals for a so-called Water Action Agenda to help reverse that trend and meet the development goals set in 2015,” to ensure access to water and sanitation” for all by 2030.

The last conference at this high level on the issue, which lacks a global treaty or dedicated United Nations agency, was held in Mar del Plata, Argentina in 1977.

Some observers have already expressed concern about the scope of these commitments and the availability of funds to implement them.

“There is too much to do and time is not on our side,” said Gilbert Hongbo, president of UN-Water, a forum for coordinating work on the topic.

The report, published by UN-Water and UNESCO, warned that “deficits are becoming endemic” due to over-consumption and pollution, while global warming will exacerbate seasonal water shortages in both regions that have abundant water as well. There is already tension.

‘If not now then when’

“Nearly 10% of the world’s population lives in a country where water stress has reached high or critical levels,” the report says.

According to the most recent UN climate report published Monday by the IPCC expert panel, “nearly half of the world’s population currently experiences severe water scarcity for at least part of the year.”

Connor told AFP those shortfalls hit the poor the hardest.

He said, “It doesn’t matter where you are, if you’re rich enough, you’ll find water.”

The report notes the particular impact of existing water supplies being contaminated due to poorly performing or non-existent sanitation systems.

“At least 2 billion people (globally) use a drinking water source contaminated with faeces, putting them at risk of cholera, dysentery, typhoid and polio,” it said.

This high number does not take into account pollution from pharmaceuticals, chemicals, pesticides, microplastics and nanomaterials.

The report states that to ensure access to safe drinking water for all by 2030, current levels of investment would need to triple.

Freshwater ecosystems – which, in addition to water, provide life-sustaining economic resources and help combat global warming – “are among the most threatened in the world,” warns the report

“We have to act now because water insecurity is undermining food security, health security, energy security or urban development and social issues,” Dutch special envoy for water Henk Oovink told AFP.

“It’s now or never as we say – a once in a generation opportunity.”

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