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United Nations Warn ‘Vampiric Overconsumption’ is Draining World’s Water

United Nations started its first summit on water security recently in over 50 years, urging states to properly manage one of humanity's shared resources.

Shivam Dwivedi
By vampiric overconsumption and irresponsible use, we are sucking humanity's lifeblood, says UN
By vampiric overconsumption and irresponsible use, we are sucking humanity's lifeblood, says UN

According to the United Nations, a quarter of the world's population relies on contaminated drinking water, and half lacks basic sanitation. Meanwhile, water has been linked to roughly three-quarters of recent tragedies.

"By vampiric overconsumption and irresponsible use, we are sucking humanity's lifeblood and evaporating it through global warming," stated United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

Providing access to safe drinking water and sanitation is one of the 17 goals set by the United Nations for sustainable development, along with eradicating hunger and poverty, achieving gender equality, and combating climate change.

Scientists, economists, and policy experts from the Global Commission on the Economics of Water have spoken out on the subject, recommending that $700 billion in agricultural and water subsidies be phased out because they are harmful to the environment.  

While the three-day conference, which begins Wednesday in New York, isn't meant to result in the kind of binding agreement that emerged from climate talks in Paris in 2015 or nature conservation talks in Montreal in 2022, Guterres said it must "result in a bold Water Action Agenda that gives our world's lifeblood the commitment it deserves."

This agenda intends to generate "political momentum" by establishing voluntary pledges from countries and sector representatives. "Governments must establish and implement policies that ensure fair access to water for all people while safeguarding this valuable resource," Guterres added. "I also want countries to collaborate across borders to collectively manage water."

This association, established by the Dutch government, a co-host of this week's conference, also supports collaborations between development finance institutions and private investors to upgrade water systems.

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