GLOBAL WATER CRISIS: TZ calls for scaled up action

TANZANIA has reached out to the world to establish a strong international mechanism in managing the global water crisis agenda which is spiraling out of control due to impacts of climate change, increased demand and polluted supplies.

The United Nations World Water Development Report of 2023 shows that 26 per cent of the estimated eight billion global population does not have access to safe drinking water and about 46 per cent of people lack access to safely managed sanitation services.

Water Minister Mr Jumaa Aweso issued the call in his address at the UN 2023 Water Conference where he attended on behalf of President Samia Suluhu Hassan from March 22-24 in New York.

“It is critical that the world comes together to manage the water agenda; the value of water in life and economy; increase investment in the water area; international cooperation in water as well as the search for money for water,” said Mr Aweso.

The minister’s idea was in line to UN’s Secretary General Mr António Guterres official opening address in which, he referred to water as a human right and a common development denominator in shaping a better future.

“Despite the fact that water is the ecosystem and biodiversity that enrich the world, water is in deep trouble,” said Mr Guterres, noting that people are draining humanity’s lifeblood through vampiric overconsumption and unsustainable use, and evaporating it through global heating.

According to him, nearly three out of four natural disasters are linked to water and one in four people live without safely managed water services or clean drinking water.

Thus, encouraged member states to massively invest in water and sanitation systems, focus on resilience, finding new ways to recycle and conserve water and to address climate change.

“We need action to ensure everyone has access to clean and safe water supplies. Everyone can be part of the solution,” said the UN Secretary General urging Member States to join and implement the UN Water Convention.

In the meeting, Tanzania placed weight on two agendas which include the implementation of the Water Sector Development Program III that requires a budget of 6.47 billion US dollars within the period 2022-2025.

Mr Aweso also indicated that Tanzania puts focus on the investment agenda in the water sector in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through the Tanzania Water Investment Programme (2023-2030).

The program, which is still under construction, is in the final stages of being launched in May this year as it is estimated to have a budget of more than 25 billion US dollars.

Meanwhile, Mr Aweso took part in a discussion on Leadership and Management of Water Issues, which was organized by various countries including Tanzania and South Africa as well as different organizations including Global Water Partnership (GWP), United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The meeting was presided over by former President Dr Jakaya Kikwete, who is also the Chairman of Global Water Partnership Southern Africa (GWPSA) and Co-Chairman of the panel of famous leaders on investment in the water sector.

In his contribution, the Minister underscored the strong leadership and political will of President Samia promoting the water agenda by enormously increasing the water budget and strengthening institutions related to its management and projects’ implementations.

He, equally, acknowledged that through the President’s commitment on promoting the water agenda through ensuring access to clean and safe water, it will contribute to lifting up a girl child and women to use their time for studies and economic endeavors.

The UN 2023 Water Conference is the most important water event in a generation. It aims to raise awareness of the global water crisis and decide on concerted action to achieve the internationally agreed water-related goals and targets including those contained in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

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