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Experts sign a ‘Magna Carta’ of water

06 July 2017

Over 40 of the world’s leading experts including Crawford School’s Professor Quentin Grafton and Adjunct Professor John Williams are calling for a dedicated Global Human Water Security Fund to ensure water security for all. The Founding Signatories include past winners of the Stockholm World Water Prize and are in Geneva to sign a ‘Magna Carta’ of water because they want to transform how we access, use and reuse water.

The Founding Signatories to the ‘Geneva Actions on Human Water Security’ include some of the world’s leading water experts. In signing on to the Geneva Actions, they are calling for a dedicated Global Human Water Security Fund. This Fund would annually invest on water actions an amount equal to US1 cent per person per day, equivalent to US$27 billion given the world’s current population of 7.5 billion.

The Global Human Water Security Fund would support three key actions:

  • Secure the delivery of basic water needs for people
  • Secure improvements in the condition of watersheds, streams, rivers and aquifers
  • Secure better water planning, management and governance

“If each of us spent an amount equal to the cost of just one cup of coffee per year, we could literally change the world,” said Convener of the Geneva Actions, UNESCO Chair in Water Economics and Transboundary Water Governance at Crawford School, Professor Quentin Grafton. “As water experts, we’ve come together from across the globe united because we recognise the urgent need for action: We know what needs to be done, where, when and most importantly, how.”

Founding signatory Dr Cecilia Tortajada, Winner of the prestigious Crystal Drop Award and past President of the International Water Resources Association, based at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore, added: “The Geneva Actions need to be funded. To understand and manage the interdependencies among the various sectors and their global impacts, and to secure the necessary water resources in terms of quantity and quality, will require comprehensive planning and policy implementation, institutional resilience, partnerships across economic sectors, and innovation in development.”

The Founding Signatories recognise that many of the world’s water borne deaths are caused by poor access to clean water and inadequate sanitation. Most of the world’s rivers are polluted and are not suitable for direct human use. Yet, in most locations, water planning, management and governance is ineffective and fails to respond to human needs and environmental demands for water.

“The time for action is now,” said World Water Prize Winner Professor Asit K Biswas of the National University of Singapore. “The world needs co-ordinated, prioritised and funded actions to respond to basic water needs, to the deterioration of watersheds and aquifers and to failures in water governance.”

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