New York, 23 October 2007 - Secretary-General's remarks at the opening ceremony of a Water Exhibition organized by the American Museum of Natural HistoryMuseum President Ellen Sutter,
All our friends from the American Museum of Natural History,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am delighted to join you for the opening of this wonderful exhibit on water. Let me also commend the American Museum of Natural History for this excellent initiative.
Those of us who live in New York may sometimes forget how precious water is. After all, it is so easy to take it for granted. We turn on a tap, and it gushes out. We walk into any corner store, and shelves groan under its bottled weight. Yard space, rather than sprinklers, is the scarce commodity. And rain brings consternation, not relief.
This display highlights the sobering reality: our planet's water supplies are under great stress due to high population growth, unsustainable consumption patterns, poor management practices, pollution, inadequate investment in infrastructure, and low efficiency in water-use.
Every day, a lack of safe drinking-water and adequate sanitation claims about 6,000 lives, most of them children. Some 700 million lives in 43 countries are affected by water scarcity. By 2025, these ranks could swell to more than 3 billion. And, as the exhibit explains, in many areas climate change will likely make a bad situation worse; causing floods in some parts and droughts elsewhere.
Today, the world urgently needs integrated and sustainable approaches to water resource management. Safe drinking water and adequate sanitation are crucial for poverty reduction, crucial for sustainable development, and crucial for achieving any and every one of the Millennium Development Goals.
To put the spotlight on this silent crisis the General Assembly has declared 2008 as the International Year of Sanitation. The American Museum of Natural History could not have chosen a better time to engage the public through this exhibition on water and the interlinked issue of sanitation.
All of us as the United Nations are honoured that the exhibit is being unveiled here at UN headquarters. And we are glad that it will subsequently travel to various countries.
It is my sincere hope that this display will inspire people everywhere to act on this vital issue. All levels of society -- government, civil society, business and the international community – need to be a part of this global effort. Together, we need to make sure that the most basic human need for water and sanitation is met for one and all.
But now, let us view this exhibit. And let us be inspired!
Thank you very much.
Statements on 23 October 2007
- New York, 23 October 2007 - Secretary-General's remarks at the High-Level Dialogue on Financing for Development
- New York, 23 October 2007 - Secretary-General's remarks at Security Council debate on Women, Peace and Security: Towards a Coherent and Effective Implementation of Security Council Resolution 1325