UN launches 10-year action plan to overcome water scarcity challenge

By JT – Mar 24,2018
AMMAN — Jordan has participated in the high-level meeting on water that was held at the UN headquarters in New York, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported on Saturday.

The UN on Thursday launched a 10-year water action plan that seeks to forge new partnerships, improve cooperation and strengthen capacity to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, according to the UN website.

The launch of the “International Decade for Action: Water for Sustainable Development, 2018-2028” coincides with the World Water Day, marked annually on March 22, to focus attention on the importance of and challenges facing freshwater availability.

Most directly linked to Sustainable Development Goal 6, safe water and adequate sanitation are indispensable for healthy ecosystems, reducing poverty and achieving inclusive growth, social well-being and sustainable livelihoods – the targets for many of the 17 Goals, the UN website added.

During the meeting attended by Water Minister Ali Ghezawi, on behalf of Prime Minister Hani Mulki, UN Secretary General António Guterres warned that more than 2 billion people worldwide lack access to safe water and over 4.5 billion to adequate sanitation services.

Stressing that water cannot be taken for granted, the UN chief said that while solutions and technologies to improve water management exist, these are often not accessible to all. In many cases, they end up perpetrating inequity within and among countries, according to the UN website.

“As with most development challenges, women and girls suffer disproportionately. For example, women and girls in low-income countries spend some 40 billion hours a year collecting water,” the UN website quoted Guterres as saying.

In Jordan’s speech, Ghezawi shed light on water scarcity that tops the Kingdom’s priorities, referring to the challenges that Jordan faces in sustaining water resources and the impact of several refugee influxes, especially Syrians whose number stands at some 1.3 million refugees, Petra reported.

He also pointed out the government efforts in water and sanitation sectors, calling on the international community to support the Jordan Response Plan to handle the Syrian refugee crisis, especially with regard to water and sanitation services.

The minister stressed the importance of regional cooperation in water issues, highlighting the close relation between water issues, from one side, and security and peace, from the other, where he called on all regional and international partners to work together to realise prosperity and peace.

Earlier in March, Jordan’s Permanent Representative to the UN Sima Bahous submitted the final report of the panel to Guterres.

In her remarks at a ceremony dedicated for publicising the report, titled “Making Every Drop Count: An Agenda for Water Action”, Bahous said that water scarcity is a top priority for Jordan, which ranks the third poorest in the world in terms of water resources.


Jordan urges better planning to address water scarcity

By JT – Mar 15,2018

AMMAN — Deputising for Prime Minister Hani Mulki, Jordan’s Permanent Representative to the UN Sima Bahous on Wednesday submitted the final report of the panel to UN Secretary General António Guterres.

In her remarks at a ceremony dedicated for publicising the report, which is titled “Making Every Drop Count: An Agenda for Water Action”, Bahous said that water scarcity is a top priority for Jordan, which ranks the third poorest in the world in terms of water resources, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

Water scarcity is a critical issue that must be addressed at the international level, she stressed.

The ambassador called for joint action on national and regional levels to coordinate financial support and initiatives to address drought, displaced people’s impact on water security and resilience.

Setting up local and large-scale projects to realise the human right to water is vital in a region suffering from instability and political conflicts, Bahous said, adding that much more emphasis is needed to be placed on the value of water and its contribution to socio-economic development and sustainability.

She also stressed Jordan’s commitment to working with the international community to make water partnerships a means to achieve peace, especially in the Middle East.

The report calls for a fundamental shift in the way the world manages water so that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly Goal 6 on ensuring availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all, can be achieved, according to the UN website.

According to the report, 40 per cent of the world’s people are being affected by water scarcity. If not addressed, as many as 700 million could be displaced by 2030 in search for water.

In addition, more than two billion people are compelled to drink unsafe water and more than 4.5 billion do not have safely managed sanitation services.

“It is my deep belief that water is a matter of life and death,” Guterres commented upon receiving the report, as quoted by the UN website, noting that 60 per cent of the human body is water.

He said that water-related natural disasters are occurring more frequently and becoming more and more dangerous everywhere, which means “water is indeed a matter of life and death” and “must be an absolute priority in everything we do”.

In a press release, cited by the UN website, World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim stressed that heads of state and government make up the panel “because the world can no longer afford to take water for granted”.

The panel is composed of 11 heads of state and a special adviser.

The members are Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, Mauritius’ president (co-chair); Enrique Peña Nieto, Mexico’s president (co-chair); Malcolm Turnbull, Australia’s premier; Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh’s prime minister; Janos Ader, Hungary’s president; and Mulki.

The team also includes Mark Rutte, Netherlands’ prime minister; Pedro Pablo Kuczynski Godard, Peru’s president; Jacob Zuma, South Africa’s president; Macky Sall, Senegal’s president; Emomali Rahmon, Tajikistan’s president; and Han Seung-soo, the special adviser and former prime minister of South Korea.