UN report says 26% of the world lacks clean drinking water


A new report released on Tuesday ahead of the United Nations’ first major conference on water in more than 45 years says 26% of the world’s population does not have access to safe drinking water and 46% does not. access to basic sanitary conditions.

The United Nations World Water Development Report 2023 paints a clear picture of the huge gap that needs to be filled to meet the UN’s goals of ensuring access for all. with clean water and sanitation by 2030.

Richard Connor, the report’s editor-in-chief, told a news conference that the estimated cost of achieving the goals is between $600 billion and $1 trillion a year.

But equally important, Connor said, is forging partnerships with investors, financiers, governments and the climate change community to ensure that money is invested in a way that sustains the environment. schools and provide clean water to the 2 billion people who don’t have it and sanitation to 3.6 million people in need.

According to the report, water use has increased globally by about 1% per year for the past 40 years “and is expected to increase at a similar rate through 2050, driven by a combination of population growth, socioeconomic development and changing consumption patterns.”

Connor argues that increased demand is indeed occurring in developing countries and emerging economies, where it is fueled by industrial growth and in particular the rapid increase in the population of urban areas. city. It’s in these metropolitan areas that “you’re having a huge increase in demand,” he said.

With agriculture using 70 percent of the world’s water, Connor says, crop irrigation has to be more efficient — as in some countries now using drip irrigation, which saves money. water. “That allows for the supply of water to cities,” he said.

As a result of climate change, the report said, “seasonal water scarcity will increase in areas where water is currently abundant – such as Central Africa, East Asia and parts of South America.” – and it’s getting worse in areas that already lack water, such as the Middle East and Sahara in Africa.”

On average, “10% of the global population lives in countries with high or severe water stress” — and up to 3.5 billion people live in water-stressed conditions for at least one month each year. year, said the report published by UNESCO. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

Since 2000, flooding in the tropics has quadrupled, while flooding in the northern mid-latitudes has increased 2.5-fold, the report said. It said drought trends are more difficult to determine, “although an increase in drought intensity or frequency and ‘temperature extremes’ can be predicted in most regions as a direct consequence of Climate Change.”

As for water pollution, Connor said, the biggest source of pollution is untreated wastewater.

“Globally, 80 per cent of wastewater is discharged into the environment without any treatment, and in many developing countries this is close to 99 per cent,” he said.

These and other issues including protecting aquatic ecosystems, improving water resource management, enhancing water reuse, and promoting cross-border cooperation on water use will be discussed in the next chapter. The three-day United Nations Water Conference was co-chaired by King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands and Tajikistan. President Emomali Rahmon opened on Wednesday morning.

There are 171 countries, including more than 100 ministers, on the speaker list along with more than 20 organisations. The meeting will also include five “interactive dialogues” and dozens of side events.

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