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Jordan urges better planning to address water scarcity

By JT - Mar 15,2018 - Last updated at Mar 15,2018

AMMAN — Deputising for Prime Minister Hani Mulki, Jordan’s Permanent Representative to the UN Sima Bahous on Wednesday submitted the final report of the panel to UN Secretary General António Guterres.

In her remarks at a ceremony dedicated for publicising the report, which is titled "Making Every Drop Count: An Agenda for Water Action", Bahous said that water scarcity is a top priority for Jordan, which ranks the third poorest in the world in terms of water resources, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

Water scarcity is a critical issue that must be addressed at the international level, she stressed. 

The ambassador called for joint action on national and regional levels to coordinate financial support and initiatives to address drought, displaced people's impact on water security and resilience.

Setting up local and large-scale projects to realise the human right to water is vital in a region suffering from instability and political conflicts, Bahous said, adding that much more emphasis is needed to be placed on the value of water and its contribution to socio-economic development and sustainability.

She also stressed Jordan's commitment to working with the international community to make water partnerships a means to achieve peace, especially in the Middle East.

The report calls for a fundamental shift in the way the world manages water so that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly Goal 6 on ensuring availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all, can be achieved, according to the UN website.

According to the report, 40 per cent of the world’s people are being affected by water scarcity. If not addressed, as many as 700 million could be displaced by 2030 in search for water. 

In addition, more than two billion people are compelled to drink unsafe water and more than 4.5 billion do not have safely managed sanitation services.

“It is my deep belief that water is a matter of life and death,” Guterres commented upon receiving the report, as quoted by the UN website, noting that 60 per cent of the human body is water.

He said that water-related natural disasters are occurring more frequently and becoming more and more dangerous everywhere, which means “water is indeed a matter of life and death” and “must be an absolute priority in everything we do”.

In a press release, cited by the UN website, World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim stressed that heads of state and government make up the panel “because the world can no longer afford to take water for granted”.

The panel is composed of 11 heads of state and a special adviser. 

The members are Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, Mauritius’ president (co-chair); Enrique Peña Nieto, Mexico’s president (co-chair); Malcolm Turnbull, Australia’s premier; Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh’s prime minister; Janos Ader, Hungary’s president; and Mulki. 

The team also includes Mark Rutte, Netherlands’ prime minister; Pedro Pablo Kuczynski Godard, Peru’s president; Jacob Zuma, South Africa’s president; Macky Sall, Senegal’s president; Emomali Rahmon, Tajikistan’s president; and Han Seung-soo, the special adviser and former prime minister of South Korea.

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