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Water Connects the SDGs

In late November a Budapest UN Water Summit (the one that in 2013 called for a stand-alone sustainable development goal on water) convened, with Hungarian President János Áder stating that water is the most significant issue of the 21st century. He noted that responsible water management is a prerequisite for development, and cited examples of water issues worldwide, including the link between water scarcity and conflict, and impacts of climate change on irrigation and hydropower production.

Other officials noted the links between water, peace, and security, the problems involved in transboundary water agreements between nations, and the special plight of small island nations experiencing increased drought and groundwater contamination.

  • 90% of human loss of life from natural disasters comes from water-related events
  • It is forecast that global water demand will increase by at least 55% from 2000-2050
  • 80% of African countries’ Nationally Determined Contributions under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) were about water issues
  • global water use has tripled since 1950
  • 80% of wastewater is discharged back into the environment without any treatment
  • 5 billion people lack access to basic wastewater treatment

Csaba Balogh of the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade quoted John F. Kennedy: “Anyone who can solve the problems of water will be worthy of two Nobel Prizes: one for peace and one for science.”