The growth of the world’s population will increase demand for water by 55% by the year 2050, placing even further strain on freshwater reserves.Rivers are the arteries of the earth. Seen from above, the earth’s creeks, lakes, rivers and wetlands form natural networks which sustain nature.
Rivers and lakes account for 90% of the world’s freshwater stocks.Rivers have been the cradles of human civilization from time immemorial. The earliest civilizations were nurtured along the banks of rivers – including the Euphrates, the Indus, the Nile and Yellow rivers.
Rivers remain vital today.
Rivers will be essential for all eternity.
Rivers are indispensable to human well¬-being.
The waters of rivers are used for cooking, drinking, fishing, recreation, transportation and washing.
Rivers also provide water for irrigation for farming, mining, manufacturing and other economic activities.
Rivers are important for the security of states.
The management of transboundary watercourses must promote cooperation and collaboration rather than confrontation and conflict.
Rivers must be protected from pollution, including that caused by environmental degradation and the discharge of effluent from industry, mining and agriculture. River pollution impacts adversely on water quality, on health and the economic and social well-being of citizens.
The protection of the sources of the world’s freshwater sources is essential to ensuring:– citizens’ entitlement to water;
– communities’ access to safe and sanitary water; and
– countries’ and the continent’s water security;
The adverse effects of climate change – droughts, flooding, rising sea levels and extreme weather events – are exacerbating water quality and environmental security. The Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has forecasted that climate change will result in reduced surface and ground water in most sub-tropical regions.
The protection of the world’s freshwater sources, therefore, is essential to global water security.
World Water Day reminds us of our shared responsibility to protect the earth’s water resources.WE have, therefore, calls on this World Water Day to take action to protect water for future generations.
We recommend to this World Water Day, a three-point action agenda to enhance:
– Commitment to pay continuous attention and unceasing action, not only to occasional conferences;
– Collaboration among states, especially neighbors which share the waters of rivers; and
– Conservation of water resources and the protection of the environment everywhere in order to maintain the integrity of the earth’s rivers and lakes.
At stake is nothing less than humanity itself.
I wish success to the celebrations marking World Water Day.
I thank you.