Former world leaders call on UN Security Council to recognize water as a top concern

United Nations University, Institute for Water, Environment and Health, Canada

InterAction Council, Tokyo

Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation, Canada


World confronts serious water crisis, former heads of government and experts warn in new report; India and China may exceed supplies in less than 20 years

chretienThe world today confronts a water crisis with critical implications for peace, political stability and economic development, experts warn in a new report being launched Sept. 11 jointly by the InterAction Council (IAC), a group of 40 prominent former government leaders and heads of state, together with the United Nations University’s Institute for Water, Environment and Health, and Canada’s Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation.

“The future political impact of water scarcity may be devastating,” says former Canadian Prime Minister and IAC co-chair Jean Chr├ętien. “Using water the way we have in the past simply will not sustain humanity in future. The IAC is calling on the United Nations Security Council to recognize water as one of the top security concerns facing the global community.”

“Starting to manage water resources more effectively and efficiently now will enable humanity to better respond to today’s problems and to the surprises and troubles we can expect in a warming world.”

The new report on water and world security is released as Foreign Ministers of several countries prepare for a scheduled special discussion of the topic this month on the margins of the UN General Assembly. UN-Water, a coordinating body for water-related efforts by all UN organizations, will also convene a meeting of experts in New York Sept. 25 to identify key avenues through which such concerns should be addressed, including the Security Council.

In her foreword to the report, “The Global Water Crisis: Addressing an Urgent Security Issue,” IAC member and former Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland underlined the danger in many regions, particularly sub-Saharan Africa or West Asia and North Africa, where critical water shortages already exist.

“As some of these nations are already politically unstable, such crises may have regional repercussions that extend well beyond their political boundaries. But even in politically stable regions, the status quo may very well be disturbed first and most dramatically by the loss of stability in hydrological patterns.”

In an exhaustive compilation of the many factors contributing to deteriorating water security worldwide, 23 eminent international water expert authors identify a host of serious security, development and social risks associated with the water crisis, including food, health, energy and equity issues.

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