UN chief urges ‘game-changing’ commitments on clean water
UNITED NATION (AP) — The United Nations chief urged the first world conference on water in over 45 years on Wednesday to address the “21st century emergency” that is wasting the world's most important resource and has left billions of people without clean water and basic sanitation.
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told the opening session that water is “humanity's lifeblood” and a human right, but the world is draining it “through vampiric overconsumption and unsustainable use and evaporating it through global heating.”
In a challenge to all nations and the broader international community, he said the three-day conference must represent “a quantum leap” in recognition of the vital importance of water and the need for action to ensure its sustainable use.
Guterres called for “game-changing commitments” toward UN goals, including ensuring that all people have access to drinking water and sanitation by 2030.
The UN World Water Development Report, issued on the eve of the conference, says 26% of the world's population — two billion people — don't have access to safe drinking water and 46% — 3.6 billion people — lack access to basic sanitation.
UN research also shows that almost half the world's people will suffer severe water stress by 2030.
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