World Could Face Water Availability Shortfall by 2030 if Current Trends Continue, Secretary-General Warns at Meeting of High-Level Panel

Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks as prepared for delivery at the second meeting of the High-Level Panel on Water, in New York today:

I am pleased to welcome you to the second meeting of the High-Level Panel on Water.  I thank the Co-Chairs, Mexico and Mauritius, the Panel members and the special advisers for all the work you have done and the progress you have made since our first meeting in April.

You have been asked to champion a comprehensive, inclusive and collaborative way of developing and managing water resources and improving water and sanitation services.  You have an important role in mobilizing action, changing mindsets and advocating for resources.  The United Nations and the World Bank deeply appreciate your commitment and leadership.

The water challenges facing the international community are increasing.  They include growing populations, more water-intensive growth patterns, increasing rainfall variability due to climate change, more frequent and severe disasters and pollution.  These are combining in many places to make water scarcity one of the greatest risks to poverty reduction and sustainable development.

Action on water-related issues is urgent at all levels.  If the world continues on its current path, projections suggest that the world may face a 40 per cent shortfall in water availability by 2030.

This Panel has a very important agenda ahead.  It can help mobilize the urgent action needed for ensuring the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.  Sustainable Development Goal 6 on water and sanitation is crucial for poverty reduction and for achieving the other Sustainable Development Goals.

I commend how you are working with Governments, civil society and the private sector to change how we use and manage water.  Your joint work in this important Panel represents a unique opportunity to initiate and accelerate the transformation we need.  I count on your convening power and advocacy.

And I thank you once again for your strong commitment and leadership.

Thank you.

For information media. Not an official record.