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Water is as essential to human activity as air. When cities or societies neglect water, they face collapse. By Jack Moss, Chair of BIAC Water Group, for OECD Observer.
The current crisis provides an impetus to push forward difficult reform, an opportunity that should not be wasted for the water sector, according to Angel Gurría. He affirmed that there were huge opportunities for job-creating and “shovel ready” investments in the water sector, particularly for water saving and the rehabilitation of networks, which require relatively short design and construction planning, compared to other types of
One billion people cannot get clean drinking water and 2.5 billion lack access to basic sanitation which cause 1.5 million preventable child deaths per year. While addressing the emergency of the current crisis, we must not forget that water is the most essential good and we should find new and innovative approaches to allow everyone access to water and sanitation, according to the OECD Secretary-General.
The OECD will release a new report – Managing Water for All: Pricing and Financing – at an event during the World Water Forum in Istanbul.
In a world where advance-countries will have to increase their water spending by huge proportions to maintain existing level of service, and the developing countries have huge supply and sanitation challenges to meet, it is fundamental to have good water management practices, according to Mr. Gurría.
While political will is necessary to tackle climate change, financial measures are needed to keep down the cost of action. According to Angel Gurría, "Ministers of Finance share a common responsibility to help shape cost-effective policies to respond to climate change."
OECD is preparing a two-pillar action plan for governments, as part of a global response to the world financial crisis, calling for tighter regulation and oversight of financial markets and improved national policies to promote economic growth.
Countries today face numerous environmental challenges, such as climate change, air and water pollution, natural resource management, natural disasters and industrial accidents.
Given that the majority of the world’s population lives in cities accounting for 60 to 80 percent of emissions, cities are key actors in our efforts to achieve long-term sustainable solutions to the global climate change challenge, according to Mr. Gurría.
- Conference on Competitive Cities and Climate Change
In the lead-up to joining the European Union, Hungary made significant progress in reducing air and water pollution and protecting its nature and biodiversity, according to Mr. Gurría. However, he recommended that Hungary redouble its efforts, in order to further reduce pollution and use energy and raw materials more efficiently.