UN water summit ends with global action plan

UN water summit ends with global action plan

UN Water Conference

Antonio Guterres speaks at the close of the UN Water Conference.

(Photo: IMAGO/ANP)

new York A global action plan with a good 700 self-commitments is the result of the United Nations Water Summit in New York. The commitments come from governments as well as non-profit organizations and some companies. For example, 150 states support the appointment of a UN special representative for water. In addition, a scientific committee is to be set up on the subject.

Federal Environment Minister Steffi Lemke was pleased at the end of the three-day meeting. The action agenda is a milestone and the foundation for a trend reversal in global water policy, said the Green politician on Friday. “One thing is clear: We have to act faster than before to protect our water supplies worldwide and to secure the supply in the long term.” She feels obliged to do so.

Sufficient water and healthy bodies of water are key to solving the existential crises, the climate crisis, species extinction and the pollution crisis, she warned.

According to Johannes Cullmann, around 750 billion dollars (equivalent to 695 billion euros) will flow into the protection of global water supplies in the future. That’s what the Vice-Chairman for Water and Science President of the General Assembly said on Friday to the ARD “Tagesschau”.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres had previously called on countries to fight against drinking water shortages. All hope for humanity would depend on charting a new course: “It depends on realizing the landmark inclusive and action-oriented commitments made by Member States and others at this conference”.

UN Water Conference in New York

Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, speaks at the conclusion of the United Nations Water Conference. The conference serves as a prelude to the climate summit in Dubai later this year. At the end of the water conference, Guterres called on the countries to fight against drinking water shortages.

(Photo: dpa)

The UN water conference has been running since Wednesday. It was the first major UN meeting since 1977 to deal solely with the issue of water. The United Nations had sounded the alarm in the face of a global water crisis: the water cycle had been broken, ecosystems destroyed and groundwater contaminated. Two billion people, one in four, do not have adequate access to clean water. And the global shortage of drinking water will continue to increase.

Almost 7,000 people attended, including about a dozen heads of state and government. However, critics denounced that some parts of the world were far better represented than others. Many communities from the Global South, which are particularly affected by water scarcity, were not sufficiently represented due to visa barriers or financial hurdles.

The meeting in New York was nevertheless a necessary wake-up call, said the World Resources Institute, which analyzed the conference. A number of the voluntary commitments could mark a turning point and have an impact on the development towards drinking water.

More: Who is behind the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change?

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