Friday, September 02, 2011

Call for Governmental Cooperation to Solve Global Water Crisis

During the annual Water Week conference in Stolkholm, a report was given by the World Bank's water and sanitation programme (WSP) that said that the water supply coverage across thirty-two developing countries has risen by 13 percent between 1990 and 2008 and that sanitation coverage has increased by 11 percent. The conference ended by calling on governments participating in the Rio+20 summit in June 2012 to make strides in achieving "universal provisioning of safe drinking water, adequate sanitation, and modern energy services by 2020" to further increase improvements that are underway.

Water and sanitation improvement can be seen as an unglamorous problem to focus on when compared to building schools and hospitals in resource-poor areas. However, every $1 spent on sanitation can provide up to $9 in economic benefit. The improvement in basic health needs gives a person more energy to participate in the economy and make an effort to obtain an education.

According to the WSP, two factors are needed to increase the progress of water and sanitation access: one, mechanisms are needed to convert funding into something that can be used on-the-ground and two, funding also needs to be increased in order to overcome annual shortfalls.

Success is dependent on governments, NGOs, and financial institutions coming together with a shared vision. According to the UN's Green Economy Report, annual investment of $198 billion or 0.16% of the world's GDP is enough to to increase access to water and basic sanitation by two-fold over the next four years.

-Chelsey Dambro