Water Day: Key Development Goals Stagnating

WATER DAY:Key Development Goals Stagnating

Mithre J. Sandrasagra
UNITED NATIONS, Mar 19 (IPS) - Halfway to 2015, the year when the globally agreed Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are supposed to be reached, the crisis in water and sanitation as well as in water resources management remains among the great human development and environmental challenges.

In the run-up to World Water Day on Thursday, the United Nations is stressing the importance of good governance and proper management of water resources at both the international and local levels. The focus of World Water Day 2007, "Coping with Water Scarcity," will require addressing a range of issues, from protection of the environment and global warming to equitable distribution of water for irrigation, industry and household use.

"The state of the world's waters remains fragile," stressed U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. "Available supplies are under great duress as a result of high population growth, unsustainable consumption patterns, poor management practices, pollution, inadequate investment in infrastructure, and low efficiency in water-use." There is enough water in the world for everyone, but only if it is properly managed, according to the U.N.

Slightly more than a billion people do not have access to adequate clean water to meet their basic daily needs, and 2.6 billion do not have proper sanitation, according to the World Health Organisation and the U.N. children's agency UNICEF. The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) says that by 2025, 1.8 billion people will be living in countries or regions with absolute water scarcity, and two-thirds of the world's population could be living under water stress conditions. Those affected are already among the world's poorest, over half of them living in China and India, according to U.N. estimates.

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The key to this is agriculture, and again, moral will. This is one of the most important issues socially and environmentally that we now face as a civilization. I sure wish it got the attention it deserves in this country.

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