–Guyana’s Housing and Water Minister tells UN conference
GUYANA has called on several world leaders to establish a collaborative approach to address water woes affecting many vulnerable nations.
In his address at the 2023 Conference for the Midterm Comprehensive Review of the United Nations (UN) Decade for Action on Water and Sanitation on Tuesday, Guyana’s Housing and Water Minister, Collin Croal said that a co-operative global water information system is needed to strengthen policy developments as well promote evidence-based decision making to support climate-smart water management and promote investments in sustainable water infrastructure.
Croal further called on world leaders to create a passage for greater exchange of technology and innovation between developed countries, small islands developing states, landlocked and least developed countries.
“Financing for water reuse, desalination and water waste treatment remains a major challenge for small states which must be a high priority to access clean drinking water for all,” Croal said, adding: “It is clear that more concerted action must be taken to restore, manage and preserve the integrity of water resources; we must combine all of our knowledge and best practices to find urgent solutions to our water woes.”
Referencing a recent report by the World Health Organisation (WHO), Croal said that a staggering two billion persons are still living in water-stressed countries, which have faced challenges exacerbated by climate change and man-made crises.
Simultaneously, the over-exploitation of water resources causes dire risks to the environment, including biodiversity loss and habitat fragmentation.
Guyana, he said, has recognised the need to have a balance between these competing concerns and has established its Low Carbon Development Strategy 2030, which includes more Integrated Water Resources Management in tandem with other national priorities such as energy and food security.
“Climate change represents a foremost change threat to water resources on our planet, with deleterious impacts and unavailability. Guyana wishes to highlight the value of nature-based solutions in integrated water resources management strategies to address the challenges,” Minister Croal said.
Guyana has taken a series of steps to boost access to water, increase the efficiency of water use and mitigate threats to water quality and availability, such as the improvements to the infrastructure to provide equitable access to safe drinking water for women, children, Indigenous communities, persons living with disabilities and migrants.
Meanwhile, Guyana is collaborating with other member states of the Amazon Co-operation Treaty Organisation (ACTO) on transboundary initiatives to promote the harmonious use of the Amazon basin.
Further, Minister Croal reiterated Guyana’s commitment to achieving Sustainable Development Goal (Six) and called on the international community to work together to address the challenges facing the water and sanitation sector.
“It plays a crucial role in climate regulation and cycles 20 per cent of the world’s fresh water, Guyana in collaboration with the other member states of the amazon co-operation treaty organisation continues to work on transboundary initiatives to monitor the quality and quantity of water while promoting harmonious use of its vast resources,” the minister said.