World Water Day sees UN Chief worry about water stress due to climate change

World Water Day 2014

Climate change may aggravate water stress and scarcity in the world, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon warned Saturday in a message on the occasion of World Water Day. Ban said that all efforts to provide universal access to water and energy would be undermined if the current global warming trends continue.

The secretary general appealed to the international community to “pledge to develop the policies needed to ensure that sustainable water and energy are secured for the many and not just the few”. The theme of this year´s World Water Day is “Water and Energy”.

In 2014, the UN is focussing attention on the water-energy nexus, particularly addressing inequities, especially for the ‘bottom billion’ who live in slums and impoverished rural areas and survive without access to safe drinking water, adequate sanitation, sufficient food and energy services.

Ban pointed out in his message that climate change was greatly driven by the unsustainable use of energy. Yuri Fedorov, the director of Vienna-based UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), stated that corruption prevents fair access to water for all.

“Water must be allocated equitably and for the benefit of all. This means that governments, the private sector, civil society and the public should work together to eradicate the corruption that can prevent fair access to water for everyone,” said Fedorov in his message.

In support of global efforts to combat corruption, the UNODC and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) have launched a campaign, “Zero corruption, 100 x development”, to also raise awareness on this issue, the UN said in a statement.

According to the UN report, 1.3 billion people cannot access electricity in the world, 768 million people lack access to improved water sources and 2.5 billion people have no improved sanitation. Water and energy have crucial impacts on poverty alleviation.