Statement: Governments must include water access in poverty alleviation strategies by 2030

8/26/2011

Participants of world’s leading conference on water agree on set of recommendations for leaders attending the UN’s Rio+20 Summit on sustainable development

Stockholm, Sweden - A powerful statement was sent to the United Nations today, that protecting freshwater ecosystems and securing access to water is central to poverty alleviation and the development of robust green economies – a position that Conservation International strongly supports.

The Stockholm Statement was agreed by the participants at the closing of the annual World Water Week conference. It outlined the need for local, national and international policy-makers attending the 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro (Rio+20 Summit) to commit to provide safe drinking water, adequate sanitation and modern energy services to all by the year 2030.

 The statement, presented by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), and endorsed by a number of international organizations, says:

"Population growth, expanding cities and accelerating economic activity increase the demand for energy and food and create unsustainable pressure on our water and land resources. By 2030, in a business as usual scenario, humanity’s demand for water could outstrip supply by as much as 40 per cent.”

It adds: “The foundation for a resource efficient green economy must be built upon water, energy and food security – and these issues must be addressed in an integrated, holistic manner that values the natural environment and recognises the carrying capacity of the planet.”

The statement also asked for the passing of national legislation by all countries to guarantee access to water and sanitation for all, and the creation of economic and social incentives to promote water use efficiency and protect freshwater ecosystems.

Tracy Farrell, Senior Director of Conservation International’s freshwater initiative who is in Stockholm attending World Water Week, said: “We’re living a global water crisis, which demands that we respond with combined solutions to maintain our freshwater ecosystems, the sources of this vital resource. It’s important that we do not miss the big picture by focusing only on the consumer end of this problem. We must protect and restore our lakes, rivers and wetlands, since they provide us with water for drinking, food production, power generation, transportation and so many other important benefits.”

“Leaders attending the Rio+20 Summit have a unique opportunity to make a real impact on the well-being of millions of people, mainly the rural poor, if they incorporate the value of water and other natural resources at the center of economic and human development plans.”

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Read the Stockholm Statement: http://bit.ly/qhN3Tt

Learn more at: www.conservation.org/water2011  

For more information, contact Conservation International:

Dr. Tracy Farrell, Senior Director, Freshwater Initiative (at World Water Week)
Mobile +1 (202) 538-3024 / tfarrell@conservation.org

Dr. John Matthews, Director, Freshwater Climate Change (at World Water Week)
Mobile +1 (703) 623-1333 / jmatthews@conservation.org

Note to editors:
Conservation International (CI)
— Building upon a strong foundation of science, partnership and field demonstration, CI empowers societies to responsibly and sustainably care for nature, our global biodiversity, for the long term well-being of people. Founded in 1987, CI has headquarters in the Washington, DC area, and nearly 900 employees working in more than 30 countries on four continents, plus 1,000+ partners around the world. For more information, visit www.conservation.org , and follow us on Twitter: @ConservationOrg or Facebook: www.facebook.com/conservation.intl  

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