1.6 billion people face absolute water scarcity, says EU


The EU says no fewer than 1.6 billion people face acute water scarcity while one out of 10 people lacks access to water.
EU’s High Representative/Vice-President, Federica Mogherini, disclosed this in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja on the occasion of the World Water Day 2016.
Mogherini stressed that access to clean water was not just a basic human right.
He explained that water had become a security issue while the control of water resources was still a major cause of conflicts.
“Desertification has destabilised immense swaths of land. Droughts and floods are among the causes for the unprecedented levels of human mobility worldwide.
“Sometimes we need to look at the numbers. One human being in 10 does not have access to drinking water.
“One in three does not have access to adequate sanitation. 1.6 billion people currently live in regions of absolute water scarcity: a figure that will nearly double over the next 10 years.’’
According to her, no fewer than 34,000 children under the age of five died each year because of dirty water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene.
“Being able to drink clean, safe water; having access to proper sanitation: these are basic human rights for all, not just for those privileged enough to take them for granted.
“Today, on World Water Day, our EU recommits to the availability and sustainable management of water for all.
“We know we are not alone; last September the international community joined together in New York in adopting the 2030 UN Agenda.”
Mogherini said water was recognised by all as a priority area to eradicate poverty and achieve sustainable development worldwide.
She said the EU member states were already supporting those people hit by natural and man-made disasters by providing life-saving access to safe water.
“With water scarcity and water stress on the rise, there is only one way to deal with this challenge: together, cooperating beyond borders and political divides.
“From Trans-national cooperation as well as transparent and rules-based solutions are essential. Climate change and our ever-growing population are global issues, which can only be dealt with through global solutions.”
She said in Paris, world leaders came together to protect future generations through a global agreement on climate change.
“It was an example of how multilateralism works, but it also was a reminder of how far we have to go. Now it is the time for action,” she said.
World Water Day is an annual event celebrated on March 22 to focus attention on the importance of freshwater and advocate for the sustainable management of freshwater resources.
The theme of 2016 is “Better water, better jobs” aims to highlight how water can create paid and decent work while contributing to a greener economy and sustainable development. (NAN)


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