Blog.Jan 12, 2015

All I Want This Festive Season – A Water Goal

At this time of year, I am reminded of an old TV-skit that was produced in Sweden back in the 80’s. A reporter asks a young girl, more and more furiously, what she wants for Christmas. Dissatisfied with her response, he demands, “Something bigger than a doll! More important than a bicycle!” Finally, she answers, “peace”!

Thankfully, the UN Secretary General’s Synthesis Report on the Post-2015 Development Agenda needed no coxing from angry journalists. The report places the important pieces distinctly on the board for next year’s Member State negotiations, setting a clear vision for a better world for all.

My delight at seeing water so firmly positioned as fundamental for people, planet and prosperity was however, slightly off-set by my fear that as water is so important for so much, it might be lost – dispersed throughout the Post-2015 Development Agenda – instead of stranding strong in its centre.

The paradox is that despite the demands and benefits of water’s use being so widespread across all biological, cultural and economic activities, a dedicated goal on water is actually essential. It’s essential because in order to manage water effectively and equitably, we need to gather and connect it.

I was encouraged however, to see water highlighted as a key driver of job creation, equitable growth and prosperity. Access to safe water and good sanitation have long been recognised as absolute necessities for rising out of poverty and misery, and there is no doubt about the importance of water for (and from) healthy ecosystems. The understanding that water is also the basis for our economies is still lacking however, despite obvious examples of how too much, too little or too dirty water hinders development efforts. This will however, continue to be a big part of our focus next year, and in years to come.

It is all too clear that we still don’t manage our scarce freshwater resources as we need to. The demand for water is skyrocketing and groundwater resources are declining rapidly. The wise management of water is key to building prosperity and averting disasters, and if the global development goals are to be truly sustainable, a dedicated focus on water resources is absolutely essential.

Something bigger than water for some. This festive season, I wish for water for all.