International Water Issues Need More Than Cooperation
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UN Secretary-General Ban ki-Mun pointed out extremely important and extraordinary points in his remark at Opening of the 7th World Water Forum held in Daegu, Gyeongbuk, The Republic of Korea in 12 April 2015. He said that; “Instead of seeing scarce water as a reason for competition or conflict, we have to treat it as a challenge to collaborate, a challenge to engage in innovative hydro-diplomacy. In today’s world, we must be more aware of the risks of water conflict.” It is important to note the emphasis on “collaboration and innovative hydro-diplomacy” in his remarks. While speaking on the occasion of World Water Day 2013, the Secretary General had also said, “Water scarcity threatens economic and social gains … And it is a potent fuel for wars and conflict.” Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s warnings were reflected in the offcial definition of water security provided by the United Nations University- IWEH, which says. “The capacity of a population to safeguard sustainable access to adequate quantities of and acceptable quality water for sustaining livelihoods, human well-being, and socio-economic development, for ensuring protection against water-borne pollution and water-related disasters, and for preserving ecosystems in a climate of peace and political stability.” It is important to note the emphasis on “in a climate of peace and political stability” in this definition. The concerns of the United Nations are justified as the world faces an era of depleting water resources. The World Water Development Report of UNESCO, released in March 2015 warns us of serious depletion of water supplies by 2050, while at the same time, significant increase in demand due to population growth, economic development and urbanisation, among other factors. Different effects of climate change are today contributing to even more water scarcity and greater security risks. It shows us that we need an effective and mutually beneficial solution of water resources-related problems. At the global scale, the effective and mutually beneficial solution of water resources-related problems underlie peace, security and stability. But this can become a reality only if we change our conceptual approaches to domestic and transboundary water management.
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