By Irene Gaitirira
Published August 25, 2015
Politicians, water experts and development professionals are meeting in Sweden to grapple with possible solutions to the wold declining water supply, life-threatening climate change and growing need for food from an expanding world population.
“From the Horn of Africa, over the Sahel, to São Paulo, California and China, people’s perseverance is being tested. We can no longer take a steady water supply for granted. The many local water crises today combine into a severe global water situation of great concern to all of us,” Torgny Holmgren, Executive Director of Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), said at the opening session of the 2015 edition of the World Water Week (WWWeek) in Stockholm on August 24.
On his part, the Prime Minister of Sweden, Stefan Löfven, said, “when the international community is shaping a new sustainable development agenda, water management and allocation must be at its heart. Not only as a separate goal but as an essential vehicle for development and health.”
The President of the Marshall Islands, Christopher J. Loeak, said, “We are a country contemplating a future where we are literally being wiped off the map of the world. As the leader of my country I cannot look my people in the eyes and with good conscience say that everything will be ok, when I know the world continues to travel down a very destructive path.”
The Prime Minister of Jordan, Abdulla Ensour, described the extreme pressure his country is under due to the combination of water scarcity and a very large refugee population, and emphasized the importance of regional cooperation over water.
SIWI estimates that 1.8 billion people have no access to safe water, 2.4 billion others lack access to adequate sanitation and some 5, 000 die every day from diseases caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation.
SIWI is a thinktank that provides expert analysis and advice on water issues to decision-makers and other agents of change. It organises the WWWeek and hosts the Stockholm Water Prize, the Stockholm Junior Water Prize and the Stockholm Industry Water Award all of which are presented annually during WWWeek.