The UN warned of the risk of an imminent water crisis and called for greater global cooperation to reverse the situation (REUTERS)
The United Nations Organization once again warned about the delicate situation in which the planet finds itself with regard to water and warned of an “imminent risk of a global crisis.”
According to estimates released in the latest edition of the United Nations Report on the Development of Water Resources in the World, between 2,000 and 3,000 million people suffer from water scarcity in the world and the figure will rise even more in the coming years. .
Specifically, the document presented by Unesco and UN-Water mentions that 26% of the world population lacks the resource and 46% do not have access to safely managed sanitation. Likewise, between 2,000 and 3,000 million people face problems of “water scarcity for at least one month a year”, with “serious risks” of access to electricity and food.
46% of the world population does not have access to safely managed water sanitation (EFE)
These figures were released in the run-up to the 2023 Water Conference that will take place in New York this week and in which greater “international cooperation” will be advocated since, if this trend is not reversed, the world’s urban population suffering lack of water will go from 930 million in 2016 to double by 2050.
“It is urgent to establish strong international mechanisms to prevent the global water crisis from spiraling out of control. Water is our common future and it is essential to act together to share it equitably and manage it sustainably,” said Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO Director General in a statement.
For his part, the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, warned that “the unsustainable use of water, pollution and uncontrolled global warming are draining the lifeblood of humanity, drop by drop.” “Humanity is heading blindly down a dangerous path,” he added.
In this sense, he referred to the other side of water scarcity: floods. Although the use of this resource is increasing at a rate of 1% per year -mainly in low-income and emerging countries- extreme weather events resulting from climate change are also becoming more frequent.
Floods are also another of the problems to be addressed at the conference (REUTERS)
“From 2000 to 2019, floods caused economic losses worth USD 650 billion, affected 1.65 billion people and caused more than 100,000 deaths. In that same space of time, the droughts affected 1,430 million people and it is estimated that the losses they generated amount to almost 130,000 million”, the study continues.
“There is a lot to do and time is not on our side,” added Gibert Hougbo, president of UN-Water.
Another issue to be addressed at the conference is the contamination of water resources, since some 2,000 million people drink water contaminated by excrement, which leaves them more vulnerable to contracting cholera, dysentery, typhus and polio. Also to the contamination of pharmaceutical products, chemicals, pesticides, microplastics or nanomaterials.
Freshwater ecosystems are “among the most threatened in the world”, which is why Henk Ovink, the Netherlands’ special envoy to the conference, told AFP that “we have broken the water cycle”. “We must act now because water insecurity undermines food security, health, energy security and human development and multiplies social problems,” he commented.
Rivers and freshwater ecosystems are among the most threatened in the world (AP)
In this context, the specialists will discuss at the summit how to deal quickly and effectively with this problem given that “all the goals” related to sustainable development for 2030 in this area “are already behind schedule” and “all countries present risks regarding water quality,” said Richard Connor, a UNESCO specialist.
To achieve the desired universal water coverage, the rate of progression will have to be “quadrupled” and that will only be achieved with a “collective action” that involves one billion dollars per year, he mentioned while his Dutch counterpart stressed: “It is now or never: the opportunity of a generation.
(With information from EFE and AFP)
The UN warned that “the climate bomb” is about to explode if emissions are not stopped as soon as possibleTwo new studies warned that the ice in the Arctic is melting faster than expectedEurope is going through a historic drought that threatens food security
Leave a Reply