UN chief urges water action as world leaders warn of new crisis

UN chief urges water action as world leaders warn of new crisis

UNITED NATIONS:United Nations (UN) Secretary General Antonio Guterres has stressed the importance of water management, echoing a global water crisis report presented to him by a high-level panel, Xinhua reported here on Thursday.

"I will ask the whole of the UN system but also all member states to take it very seriously and to make sure that your proposals and your recommendations are effectively implemented," the UN chief told members of the panel, which included 11 leaders of state and a special adviser.

More than a third of the world's population are affected by water scarcity, says the report "Making Every Drop Count: An Agenda for Water Action", calling for a fundamental shift in the way the world manages water so that the Sustainable Development Goals for the period 2015-30 can be achieved.

"Two billion people in the world have no access to safe water and 4.5 billion to proper sanitation, which means that we are facing an enormous challenge," Guterres said. "On the other hand, climate change is running faster than we are and the implications of that from the point of view of the water systems is huge."

"If one looks at natural disasters, the natural disasters that have water included in them are multiplying and becoming more and more dangerous everywhere, which means water is indeed a matter of life and death and it must be a natural priority in everything we do," he said. APP/AFP