SECRETARY-GENERAL, IN MESSAGE TO INAUGURAL ASIA-PACIFIC WATER SUMMIT, WARNS THAT SCARCITY THREATENS SOCIO-ECONOMIC GAINS, COULD FUEL CONFLICTS

SG/SM/11311-ENV/DEV/960
3 December 2007

SECRETARY-GENERAL, IN MESSAGE TO INAUGURAL ASIA-PACIFIC WATER SUMMIT, WARNS THAT SCARCITY THREATENS SOCIO-ECONOMIC GAINS, COULD FUEL CONFLICTS

3 December 2007
Secretary-General
SG/SM/11311
ENV/DEV/960
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Secretary-General, in message to inaugural asia-pacific water summit, warns


that scarcity threatens socio-economic gains, could fuel conflicts


Following is the text of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s video message for the first Asia-Pacific Water Summit in Beppu, Japan, today, 3 December:


Our planet faces a growing water crisis.  But the situation in the Asia-Pacific region is especially troubling.  High population growth, unsustainable consumption, pollution and poor management all threaten the area’s clean water sources.


Climate change is making a bad situation worse.  Glaciers are receding.  Floods are getting worse.  Droughts are becoming longer and more severe.


Despite these warning signs, water care remains an underserved and underappreciated field.  Throughout the world, water resources continue to be spoilt, wasted and degraded.


The consequences for humanity are grave.  Water scarcity threatens economic and social gains.  It undermines environmental sustainability.  It slows progress towards the Millennium Development Goals.  And it is a potent fuel for wars and conflict.


This crisis demands leadership.  This inaugural Asia-Pacific Water Summit is an opportunity to answer this call.  I commend all of you for committing your time and energies to it.  And I thank former Prime Minister Mr. Yoshiro Mori for leading the initiative.


Your work today promises big returns tomorrow.  Investments in water and sanitation are among the best we can make:  for every dollar spent, we can expect to save at least $3, and as much as $34, on health, education, and social and economic development.


Of course, the benefits of clean water cannot be measured in dollars and cents alone.  There is no price tag on transforming lives, or on giving every child a real chance for a healthy, productive future.


I hope you will use this Summit to seek practical solutions to pressing water problems.  And I hope you will work to make the Asia-Pacific region a true leader in this field.


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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.