WMO to increase action on water
The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) has amended its water strategy in light of unprecedented water threats posed by water stress, drought, flooding and lack of access to clean water.
The WMO’s Executive Council held a one-day dialogue on water in an effort to strengthen hydrological services to improve monitoring and use of water supplies, tackle water pollution and improve forecasting abilities.
The Council emphasised the importance of data in better water management and launched ‘HydroHub’ to support operational hydrology.
Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary-General and chair of the Kofi Annan Foundation, told the high-level session noted:
“We need to put a much bigger emphasis on the effective, equitable and sustainable management of our water resources”
“Intelligent water management should create benefits for everyone, as no one society can prosper long without sustainable access to clean and sufficient freshwater. If sustainably managed across sectors and societies, water has the power to build trust between communities and contribute to the broader establishment of peace and development efforts”
The meeting also noted how climate change is increasing the stress on water supplies and risk of extreme water disasters. By 2050, experts predict that water related climate disasters could depress GDP growth by 6% across Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
Sophia Pal Gai, Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation of the Republic of South Sudan commented:
“Climate change is more than a climate issue…All too often it is making itself evident through drought and floods. Floods are occurring with increasing frequency, destroying lives and property”
This year a sudden increase in seasonal rainfall flooded large parts of the Horn of Africa which had previously been suffering from a drought.
In March this year a report titled ‘Making Every Drop Count’ make numerous recommendations for increasing water sustainability. One of these was the World Water Data Initiative that was implemented by the Australian Government.
Sally Mansfield, Australian Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva noted:
“Ensuring reliable water data will be an essential and strategic part of managing this essential and most vital resource”
Similarly, the HydroHub Innovation will make expertise from scientists and technology services available to end-users of hydro meteorological data and other services. This connection will support WMO in their water strategy and decision making.
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