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By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent BosNewsLife reporting from Budapest
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY (BosNewsLife)– Representatives from more than 100 United Nations member states and organizations have appealed to world leaders to urgently tackle expected water scarcity around the world. They made the recommendations in a declaration adopted at the U.N.-backed Budapest Water Summit.
The gathering in Hungary’s capital was held amid concerns over possible future conflicts over water.
Some 1,300 delegates, ranging from princes and presidents to church officials, science, youth and business leaders, adopted the Budapest Water Summit Statement amid concerns that billions of people around the world will soon face severe water shortages.
The document, adopted after four days of talks, makes policy recommendations to ensure a water secure world.
Suggestions include coordinated water management to achieve universal access to safe drinking water and sanitation especially in the growing refugee camps as well as households, schools, health facilities and workplaces.
The statement also recommends reducing pollution and increase collection, treatment and re-use of water as well as a better global response to water related disasters such as flooding.
Delegates have warned that governments should set new sustainable development goals as nearly half the global population could be facing water scarcity by 2030 due to climate and demographic changes. .
Hungarian Foreign Minister János Martonyi told reporters the statement is aimed at avoiding world conflicts over water.
Water should unite and not divide. Water should be a source of cooperation and not a source of conflict. Water should be a source of prospertity not of misery,” he said.
Christian aid workers asked attention for the estimated one billion who are already facing clean water shortages.
Hungarian Interchurch Aid, a group founded by several churches, carried water filled jerry-cans to the site, illustrating that a Southern Ethiopian girl or woman walks as many as 15 kilometers a day with 20 liters of water on her back, to provide for her family.
The next World Water Forum will take place in Korea in April next year, with as many as 30,000 people participating.
(This BosNewsLife News story also airs via Vatican Radio. BosNewsLife’s NEWS WATCH is a regular look at key news developments impacting the Church and/or compassionate professionals from especially, but not limited to, (ex)Communist nations and other autocratically ruled states).