by JT | Nov 05, 2013

AMMAN — HRH Prince Hassan has called for the equitable sharing of water resources and greater collaboration to support stability in the West Asia North Africa region.

“If managed effectively as a shared resource, what we have could go so much further — even in our fractious region,” the prince said in a keynote speech delivered at the opening ceremony of International Water Week (IWW) in Amsterdam on Monday.

“Despite our strong cultural affinities as individual citizens in the Arab world, and our high degree of environmental interdependence, there is an absolute paucity of collaboration between states,” a statement e-mailed to The Jordan Times quoted the prince as saying.

“Our countries have failed to find supra-national solutions to what really should be considered as their collective environmental problems. Each of our main riverine basins is shared among our nations, and as such, the region should be epitomised by interdependence and cooperation.”

Speaking as the chairman of the UN Secretary General’s Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation, Prince Hassan also highlighted the Millennium Development Goals.

“Despite significant global attention on water following the Millennium Development Goals, 800 million people across the world still go without access to an improved source of water, although this says nothing about water quality, as 2 billion do not have access to a reliable good-quality source.”

With the UN World Toilet Day on November 19, the prince used his speech to illustrate the sanitation issue facing billions of people.

“Two-and-a-half billion of our fellow citizens do not have access to a toilet — that’s over one-third of the global population. One billion of these, mainly in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, are forced to practise open defecation,” he noted.

“A startling fact is that according to UN data, out of a global population of 7 billion, more people — 6 billion — have access to a mobile phone than the 4.5 billion who have access to a toilet.”

IWW and Aquatech, which take place in Amsterdam until Thursday, bring together politicians, decision makers, specialists and water experts from over 40 countries.