22 March 2013: World Water Day
Nothing in the world works without water: neither in natural ecosystems, nor in agriculture, in cities or in the human body. All the vital processes on our planet depend either directly or indirectly on this everyday, yet so priceless substance. However, a reliable water supply cannot be taken for granted. Around the world, approx. 780 million people have no access to clean drinking water. The growing world population and climate change are threatening to greatly exacerbate the water shortage that exists in many regions. The Federal Government is committed to the campaign to declare access to safe drinking water and sanitation a human right. This involves enormous challenges.
The United Nations has declared 2013 the International Year of Water Cooperation. The annual World Water Day on 22 March is also being dominated by the theme of international cooperation this year. This gives a clear sign. Of course, the natural cycles of this precious resource rarely take place within national territories. Many river basins, groundwater reservoirs and even lakes straddle national borders. This can generate potential for conflict. In order to solve the problems of water management and ensure sustainable use in the long term, therefore, all the stakeholders must be brought round the table. The problems simply cannot be solved without cooperation. And sharing has to be part of the deal.
Very much in keeping with this idea of cooperation, one of the players participating in the World Water Day and the International Year is the German Water Partnership. It is an alliance of companies, organizations and scientific institutions operating in the water sector that makes its expertise available to improve global water supplies. The initiative is supported by the Federal Foreign Office as well as the Federal Ministries of the Environment, Economics, Research and Development. Key issues include not only technical questions of water treatment and usage optimization in industry and agriculture, but also developing ways to finance a better water supply infrastructure.