Stockholm, 2nd September 2013 – Global leaders have gathered in Stockholm for the 23rd World Water Week, calling for strengthened cooperation over water. With the world’s population and economies growing fast while the amount of available water remains the same, collaboration over our most essential resource is more urgent than ever.
Addressing the opening session of the World Water Week on Monday, SIWI Executive Director Mr. Torgny Holmgren said that “mortgaging our future by draining water from the ground, surface and sky faster than it can be replaced by nature is untenable and unwise. It will undermine the stability and security of our entire civilisation.”
“For the sake of the generations to come, we need to change the way the world uses water. We cannot delay,” said Mr. Holmgren.
The world’s population is increasing rapidly. By 2050, there will be 9 billion of us. However, the amount of water in the world will not increase. Unprejudiced cooperation and solid partnerships will be a prerequisite for successfully sharing and managing the water we have. We need to strengthen transboundary cooperation because water does not adhere to national boundaries, we need to build more and stronger bridges between the public, private and civic sectors, we need to learn not to waste water, to use less of it – in a more sustainable way. Most importantly, we need to make sure that every person on earth gets access to safe drinking water and sanitation.
Diseases caused by unsafe water, sanitation, and hygiene kill more than 5,000 people every day. Despite these staggering numbers, the area of sanitation rarely receives the attention it so desperately needs.
Mr. Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary-general of the United Nations, urged governments, development partners and the private sector to work together to help change this.
“Lack of sanitation has a direct impact on health, nutrition, education, women’s and girl’s rights and poverty reduction. We cannot accept that 2.5 billion people worldwide lack access to a clean and safe toilet and that over one billion defecate in the open”.
“I call on all concerned to do their part. No one can do everything, but everyone can do something” said Mr. Eliasson.
In over 100 seminars, workshops and events spread throughout the week, over 2,500 participants will meet under the theme “Water Cooperation – Building Partnerships”. They will be encouraged to come up with innovative ways to move toward a water wise future where water is managed equitably and sustainably.
During the week, the prestigious Stockholm Water Prize will be awarded to Dr. Peter Morgan of Zimbabwe for his life-long work to protect the health and lives of millions of people through improved sanitation and water technologies.
Other prizes to be presented is the Stockholm Industry Water Award, which will be awarded to the Israeli company Netafim, for pioneering drip and micro-irrigation technology worldwide, and the Stockholm Junior Water Prize, which is given to one national team from 28 competing countries.
Source: World Water Week website, Stockholm International Water Institute, press release, 02/09/2013