Water is an incredibly important issue. That’s why Progressio’s latest campaign, “Waterproof Development”, fights for the equitable and sustainable management of global water resources, with a specific focus on poor and vulnerable groups. With this campaign, we aim to address the unsustainable and unjust patterns of consumption and production in relation to water to ensure that the poor have equitable access to water resources.
The first target of this campaign is the UN Climate Change talks (COP17) in Durban in November 2011. Progressio, along with other environmental and developmental groups, will be campaigning for stronger international commitments on the management of global water resources which both promote equitable and sustainable human development and protect our fragile environment.
Water – why care?
Why should we care about water? Well, to put it quite simply, water is life. Vital to Human development, water affects all of us, no matter whether we live in Ireland, Honduras, Yemen or somewhere else. Water is not just a basic need but has an immense impact on the livelihoods and social and economic development of billions of people across the globe, and it is also linked to human rights, gender roles, education and violence. Water is going to be the most precious resource on the planet and future wars will be fought over it.
Even though water and related issues now play a central part in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) unfortunately the topic is still not given the attention it deserves on the global agenda. That means that even after half a century of state-supported “development aid” and dedicated efforts of numerous Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and individuals, the global statistics look rather grim:
1 in 8 persons is without water; 1 in 4 goes without access to basic sanitation – in fact, today more people have a cell phone than access to a toilet; and up to 4000 people die every day from water related diarrheal diseases. In comparison a person in Ireland uses an average of a bathtub full of water – every day.
On top of that, the lack of access to water hits the poorest people the hardest. These people who are already vulnerable to economic, political and ecological instabilities are least able to cope and suffer the most from the impact of climate change such as droughts and floods, dried out water holes, deforestation etc. (Have a look at this video on the effects of climate change in Peru.)
The main reason for this is the strong relationship between income and access to water. Imagine you live in a poor neighbourhood of a city like Tegucigalpa in Honduras, where water is not a public commodity but can only be bought from vendors for astronomical prices that can be anything up to half of your daily income. If you have money, you have water, if you don’t, you and your family will go thirsty or be forced to drink unclean water, won’t be able to water your crops or animals or go without basic sanitation.
Access to water is an issue of equity and justice and often rather incorporates economic scarcity than a physical shortage. Mismanagement of resources, missing regulations and competitive industries muscling out small scale users often add to the problem. Read Progressio’s drop by drop report.
What is Progressio doing?
Progressio and its partner organisations are trying to tackle these various issues on a number of levels – from local farming school and food security projects, introduction of policies and water laws to lobbying politicians and influencing global regulations.
…and you can get involved:
- Join the Get RIO about Water! campaign to make sure the decision makers in the Irish government take responsibility and keep water on the agenda for Rio +20.
- Learn more about water issues, policies and reports in our water resources section.
- Are you ready to challenge yourself and your own water consumption? Calculate your water usage and find out how to save water every day.
- Keep yourself updated by reading our Climate Change and Water Blog (coming soon) or get the real stories from Progressio’s partner countries.