High- Level- Panel: Ambassador Wittig on Water Cooperation

Mar 22, 2013

Statement as prepared for delivery for Ambassador Wittig at a High- Level-Panel on Water Cooperation

"Mr. Deputy Secretary-General, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, dear colleagues,

Let me first of all thank the panelists for their valuable and thought provoking presentations.

In many places of the world climate change,an increasing population and economic growth will increase pressure on the availability of water, thus raising the potential for controversy and conflict over scarce water ressources.

But water also offers a multitude of opportunities to cooperate – be it among sectors, within a society or between countries, globally or within a river basin. In effect, since water is a vital resource, it often necessitates cooperation, and we all are urged to enhance our efforts for cooperation, during the International Year for Water Cooperation 2013 – and beyond – to the benefit of all.

Germany has been very active regarding international water cooperation in various ways, for instance:

- We have highlighted the close link between water, energy and food through the Bonn 2011 Nexus Process.

- Germany is the third largest bilateral donor in the global water sector. Each year my government spends around 600 million USD on programmes and projects in this field. Approximately 50 % of Germany´s Development Cooperation funding in this sector are spent on sanitation, a key sector lagging behind in the implemetation of the MDGs. Human rights, including the right to safe drinking water and sanitation, are a guiding principle for German international cooperation. Human Rights play a key role in shaping our cooperation objectives, programmes and approaches.

- We are actively supporting transboundary water cooperation not only along our own shared rivers – we also foster regional water cooperation in Central Asia, the Nile and Mekong basins, South-East Europe and help to promote the efforts of UN bodies on transboundary water cooperation such as the UNECE Water Convention.

Germany has been at the forefront of those countries who have promoted the recognition of the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation, which is essential for a life in health and dignity. The General Assembly has recognised this human right in 2010.

The implementation of this right is now one of the most important topics of my government´s foreign policy in the area of human rights. We are considering a resolution on Water and Sanitation during the next General Assembly in the Third Committee.

The objective of this resolution should be to support the mandate of the Special Rapporteur of the Human Rights Council, including her mandate to make recommendations for goals beyond the 2015 Millennium Development Goals process.

We will inform partners once Germany and Spain as main sponsors will have prepared a first draft of the text.

Thank you !"

© GermanyUN

22 March 2013: World Water Day

Ensuring the fair distribution of global water resources is one of the major challenges facing international policymakers in the 21st century. Currently some 900 million people around the world have no access to clean drinking water and 2.5 billion people do not have adequate sanitation. The consequences are serious.