Water: we must safeguard this vital resource

Published on Tuesday 15 March 2022

“Water security for peace and development”: that is the theme of the 9th World Water Forum set to take place in Dakar, Senegal. It’s a noble idea, but it’s going to take more than a conference slogan to make it a reality worldwide.

Many populations face water insecurity on a daily basis and know neither peace nor development. As victims of war, disaster or epidemics with scarce public services to turn to, these populations depend entirely on community solidarity and humanitarian assistance.

Considering the number of deaths linked to waterborne illnesses, but also the centrality of water to health, nutrition, livestock, energy and climate change adaptation, ensuring access to drinking water for all must be a global priority.

And yet, it is no secret that we are not on track to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 6: Universal access to water and sanitation by 2030. To remedy this, we’ll need to quadruple funding and set up a system of global water governance. The time has come for a change in both scale and pace. We need to step it up—and fast!

That is the challenge that awaits participants of the 9th World Water Forum in Dakar, including host country Senegal and the World Water Council. We have a collective responsibility to show results.

Now more than ever, we need to think globally and act locally. Together, we must ensure that the Dakar Forum is the forum of concrete responses, and we must deliver clear political messages heading into the United Nations 2023 Water Conference—an intergovernmental event where decisions can be taken.

The 29% of the global population without access to safe drinking water and the 55% without sanitation ask this of us; they expect us to honour the commitment made in 2015 by 195 UN member states.



©Tiecoura N’Daou

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