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World Water Week opens with a call for life-saving cooperation over water
Global leaders have gathered in Stockholm for the 23rd World Water Week, calling for strengthened cooperation over water. With the world's population and economies growing fast while the amount of available water remains the same, collaboration over our most essential resource is more urgent than ever.
Addressing the opening session of the World Water Week on Monday, SIWI Executive Director Mr. Torgny Holmgren said: "Mortgaging our future by draining water from the ground, surface and sky faster than it can be replaced by nature is untenable and unwise. It will undermine the stability and security of our entire civilisation."
The world's population is increasing rapidly. By 2050, there will be nine billion of us. However, the amount of water in the world will not increase.
"Unprejudiced cooperation and solid partnerships will be a prerequisite for successfully sharing and managing the water we have. We need to strengthen transboundary cooperation because water does not adhere to national boundaries, we need to build more and stronger bridges between the public and private sectors, we must learn to use less water better - and most importantly, we need to make sure that every person on earth gets access to safe drinking water and sanitation.
"Diseases caused by unsafe water, sanitation, and hygiene kill more than 5,000 people every day. Despite these staggering numbers, the area of sanitation rarely receives the attention it so desperately needs."
Mr. Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, urged governments, development partners and the private sector to help change this.
"Lack of sanitation has a direct impact on health, nutrition, education, women's and girl's rights and poverty reduction," he said. "I call on all concerned to do their part."
In more than 100 seminars, workshops and events, some 2,500 participants are meeting under the theme 'Water Cooperation - Building Partnerships' for the 23rd World Water Week. They are being encouraged to come up with innovative ways to move toward a water wise future where water is managed equitably and sustainably.
During the week, the Stockholm Water Prize will be awarded to Dr. Peter Morgan for his sanitation innovations, the company Netafim will receive the Stockholm Industry Water Award for pioneering drip and micro-irrigation technology, and the winner of the Stockholm Junior Water Prize will be announced.
Image courtesy of Thomas Henrikson
5th September 2013