The meeting convened with the chair, Ms. Uwizera, observing that ⅕ of the world lives in absolute water scarcity today.
Ms. Bartoleme, filling in for Mr. Gass, noted that the expanding overall demand for water in the next decades will affect social and economic conditions in all countries, especially increasing the chance of conflict in water-scarce countries. The world needs a paradigm shift in how we manage water. We must move away from current crisis management methods to more preventive measures.
Mr. Garrote agreed that water crisis is a definite policy priority, among the top 3 risks for global impact for the past three years. Sustainable water use has economic, environmental, and social dimensions. Integrated water resources management requires focusing on our instruments, infrastructure, water sharing, financing, and governance. We need to proactively move from supply to demand management, and from crisis to risk management. We need to understand the social challenges needed to effectively combat drought. Also of utmost importance is investing in capacity building and sharing knowledge and information among all countries.
Ms. Mucavi said that the issue of water cuts across all of the Sustainable Development Goals. By 2025 ⅔ of the global population could be living in water stressed conditions.
Ms. Maestu stated that water equality among the world’s population is important when considering water scarcity.
Mr. Khairy noted that though Egypt possesses a water efficiency rate of 75%, one of the highest in the world, there is still a net deficit of 20 billion cubic meters of water per year, the majority of which goes to the agricultural sector.
Mr. Dolcemascolo had four priorities for action: understanding risk, strengthening governance for risk reduction, investing in resilience, and strengthening preparedness for effective response. Regional cooperation is paramount.
Meeting: Panel Discussion on “Challenges and initiatives for the implementation of the water-related sustainable development goals in water-scarce countries: learning from Mediterranean and Latin American countries”
Date/Location: 11/6/15, 10:00 – 13:00, Conference Room 2
Speakers: Ms. Chantal Uwizera (Rwanda), Rapporteur of the Second Committee; Representative filling in for Mr. Thomas Gass, Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs; His Excellency Sherif Eissa, Deputy Assistant Foreign Minister for Nile Basin Affairs, Egypt; Mr. Luis Garrote, Professor, Polytechnic University of Madrid; Ms. Carla Mucavi, Director, Food and Agricultural Organization Liaison Office with the United Nations, New York; Ms. Josefina Maestu, Director, United Nations Office to Support the International Decade for Action “Water for Life” 2005-2015; Mr. Wael Khairy, Deputy President of Nile Water Sector, Ministry of Water and Irrigation, Egypt; Mr. Ney Maranhão, Director, National Water Agency, Brazil; Mr. Dunixi Gabiña, Deputy Director, IAMZ-CIHEAM Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Zaragoza; Mr. John Qu, Director, Global Environment and Natural Resources Institute, George Mason University; Mr. Melchiade Bukuru, Chief, Liaison Office of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, New York; Mr. Jamal Shah, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Specialist on Emergencies, United Nations Children’s Fund; Mr. Glenn Dolcemascolo, Climate Change Coordinator, United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction
Written By: WIT Representative Alex Margolick
Photo Credit: JB in Pacifica