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UN Agonizes Over Unsustainable Pressure On Global Water Resources

  • Uses Unconventional Water Resources To Address Water Need

The United Nations examines that if the global untenable anxiety on water resources across the world continues, poverty-stricken and marginalized populations will be excessively affected. Hence, the international body in its recent summit provides evidence of the need to adapt approaches, in both policy and practice, to address the causes of exclusion and inequality, ODIMEGWU ONWUMERE writes

10 January 2011. Khor Abeche: Women collecting water from a water tank installed by UNAMID outside the team site in Khor Abeche, 83 km northeast on Nyala (South Darfur). About two thousand Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) are still sheltered there since last December due to several clashes. Urgent humanitarian relief has been requested while the UNAMID Mission assists them providing water and security. Photo by Albert Gonzalez Farran / UNAMID. Photo credit: Water Action Decade

Worried that billions of people had access to drinking water and sanitation services since 2000, but did not have provision for safe water and safe sanitation, the World Health Organisation (WHO), and United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), embarked on research and in their Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP), found out that about 3 in 10 people or 2.1 billion worldwide had no means to safe and accessible drinkable water at home.

It was in 2017, and the two United Nations (UN) agencies frowned that 6 in 10, or 4.5 billion were shallow in the management of sanitation.

According to data, “Of the 2.1 billion people who do not have safely managed water, 844 million do not have even a basic drinking water service.

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“This includes 263 million people who have to spend over 30 minutes per trip collecting water from sources outside the home, and 159 million who still drink untreated water from surface water sources, such as streams or lakes.

“In 90 countries, progress towards basic sanitation is too slow, meaning they will not reach universal coverage by 2030.”

Concerned by the development, the WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said, “Safe water, sanitation and hygiene at home should not be a privilege of only those who are rich or live in urban centres.

“These are some of the most basic requirements for human health, and all countries have a responsibility to ensure that everyone can access them.”

The international agencies divulged that numerous homes, healthcare facilities and schools hadn’t soap and water for hand washing, hyping that such endangers people’s health with young ones exposed to diseases such as diarrhoea.

Acknowledging this fact, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Director-General Audrey Azoulay, said in a 2019 Report, “Access to water is a vital right for the dignity of every human being. Yet, billions of people are still deprived of this right.

“The new edition of the UN World Water Development Report shows that collective determination to move forward and efforts to include those who have been left behind in the decision making process could make this right a reality.”

The international organizations were bothered that the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) point out to ending open defecation and attaining universal access to basic services by 2030. But the Chair of UN-Water and President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development, Gilbert F. Houngbo seemed to have a different view, saying:

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“The numbers speak for themselves. As the 2019 Report shows, if the degradation of the natural environment and the unsustainable pressure on global water resources continue at current rates, 45% of global Gross Domestic Product and 40% of global grain production will be at risk by 2050.

“Poor and marginalized populations will be disproportionately affected, further exacerbating already rising inequalities.

“The 2019 Report provides evidence of the need to adapt approaches, in both policy and practice, to address the causes of exclusion and inequality.”

UN not sleeping on its oars

“Safe water, effective sanitation and hygiene are critical to the health of every child and every community – and thus are essential to building stronger, healthier, and more equitable societies,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake. “As we improve these services in the most disadvantaged communities and for the most disadvantaged children today, we give them a fairer chance at a better tomorrow.”

In a UNESCO publication on behalf of UN Water dated March 19, 2019, during the 40th Session of the Human Rights Council, ahead of World Water Day (22 March), launched in Geneva, Switzerland, disclosed that the fresh United Nations World Water Development Report – Leaving No One Behind – surveyed the warning signs of prohibition and explores ways to conquer inequalities.

According to the report, “The United Nations General Assembly in 2010 adopted a resolution recognizing “the right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation as a human right” and in 2015 the human right to sanitation was explicitly recognized as a distinct right.

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“These rights oblige States to work towards achieving universal access to water and sanitation for all, without discrimination, while prioritizing those most in need. Five years later, Sustainable Development Goal 6 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development aims to guarantee sustainable management of, and access to, water and sanitation for all by 2030.”

Conversely, there was acclamation that the JMP was the first global evaluation of “safely managed” drinking water and sanitation examinations.

UN provides unconventional water resources

In a report by Water Action Aid, accelerating efforts towards meeting water-related challenges, the UN through the United Nations University – Institute for Water Environment and Health (UNU-INWEH), has been providing what was characterized by unconventional water resources. This, according to the source, may either be generated as a product of specialized processes such as desalination, need suitable pre-use treatment, and/or pertinent on-farm management when used for irrigation, or need a special technology to collect/access water.

According to the source, “Examples of such water resources/sources include, but are not limited to: desalination of seawater and highly brackish groundwater; groundwater, particularly in regions where there is no culture or experience in its large-scale use (special cases include groundwater confined in deep geological formations, or in off-shore aquifers); physical transportation of water (e.g. tankers) and icebergs; atmospheric moisture harvesting using processes such as cloud seeding, fog water collection; collection and treatment of wastewater, greywater, and stormwater; scattered (and growing) examples of using unconventional water resources or develop new technologies to boost water supply (both low and high costs) to address water scarcity exist across the world, but not coordinated yet.”

  • Odimegwu Onwumere writes from Rivers State. E-mail: apoet_25@yahoo.com
  • SOURCE: OoReporters

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Updated: June 7, 2019 — 4:59 pm

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