New York

28 January 2014

Secretary-General's message to Joint Initiative "Strategy for Water in the Western Mediterranean" organized by Algeria and Spain

I am pleased to send greetings to all those taking part in this joint initiative on a Strategy for Water in the Western Mediterranean. I applaud Algeria and Spain for launching the Strategy and organizing this meeting, which can help contribute to a more sustainable future for all.

This timely initiative builds on the global commitment to water affirmed during the Rio +20 Summit. By developing and putting in place water-saving technologies for agriculture, this initiative can help manage water use, improve efficiency and contribute to significant water savings. And beyond water efficiency in agriculture, this Strategy targets the sustainable use of water resources at all levels.

In our world where 2.5 billion people lack access to improved sanitation and 768 million lack access to an improved source of drinking water, realizing the human right to water will be fundamental to achieving sustainable development, including poverty eradication.  I welcome the fact that this Strategy aims to create a context for enabling all people to enjoy their right to water supply and sanitation.

As pressures on our freshwater resources grow, we must unlock the potential that water holds for cooperation among nations. I hope this Strategy will succeed in its stated goal of promoting water diplomacy and preventing conflicts. 

Your dialogue today comes as the international community engages in discussions that will set the course for global development for the future.  By designing a universal post-2015 agenda articulated through as set of Sustainable Development Goals, countries are making tough choices and setting priorities to create a world free from poverty that can sustain future generations.  Water is an essential resource that must figure in this important process.

The Mediterranean has long inspired poets, travellers and local communities with its striking beauty, bountiful resources and power to unite countries. By promoting this Strategy for Water in the Western Mediterranean, your event can benefit the region and our world.

I look forward to the results of this valuable initiative, and wish you great success.