Istanbul: Government ministers from 120 countries, scientists and campaigners will meet in Istanbul from 16-22 March to discuss how to avert a global water crisis and ease tensions between states fighting over rivers, lakes and glaciers.
Nearly half of the world’s people will be living in areas of acute water shortage by 2030, the United Nations (UN) warned last week.
The world’s population of 6.6 billion is forecast to rise by 2.5 billion by 2050. Most of the growth will be in developing countries, much of it in regions where water is already scarce.
As populations and living standards rise, a global water crisis looms unless countries take urgent action, the international body said.
“Water is not enough of a political issue,” said Daniel Zimmer, associate general of the World Water Council, one of the organizations behind the World Water Forum. “One of the targets is to make politicians understand that water should be higher up on their domestic agenda...”
UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon has said water scarcity is a “potent fuel for wars and conflict”.
The agenda for the talks will include how to avert catastrophic floods and droughts as climate patterns change, and how the global financial crisis threatens to hit large-scale water infrastructure projects within the next several years. The heads of state, environment and development ministers, scientists and development organizations hope to draw up a list of recommendations to help safeguard water resources and to share experiences where projects have been successful.