Presidents of Mauritius and Mexico
Water is the life-blood of our planet: it is vital for human life and public health; it grows the food that we eat; it nurtures the environment that sustains our planet; and flows through and connects the economies that we depend on. But today, in many parts of the world, communities are struggling to clean the water that has been degraded, and to share water that is scarce; and they are having to live with floods, droughts, and the increasing variability of our climate. Over 2 billion people, in particular women and girls, face a daily struggle to find safe water to drink, and do not have access to sanitation services that would give them dignity and allow them to keep their communities and cities healthy and clean.
Pressure on water is rising everywhere, including in countries of the Commonwealth. If the world continues on its current path, projections suggest that it may face a 40 per cent shortfall in water availability by 2030. Water scarcity induced by climate change could result in GDP declining by as much as 14 per cent in some regions of the world if it is not properly managed. Economic losses due to inadequate water and sanitation services in developing countries total US$260 billion a year, and expected annual flood damage amounts at US$120 billion per year from property damage alone. The consequences of such stress would be catastrophic at local, national, regional, transboundary and global levels in today’s interconnected world. Action is therefore absolutely crucial...