Maat holds a session on blue peace at the UN headquarters- New York
LAWRENCE ONEGIU: Without clear Water, No Peace.
Kofi Kankam: Women and children are the only victims to the current water situation.
New York, 16th July 2018.
On the sidelines of Maat’s participation in the High-Level Political Forum on sustainable development in New York. Maat for Peace, Development and Human Rights Association held a massive side event on Goal 6 and titled: “Towards achieving a Blue Peace”. The side event was at the UN head quarters with the presence of civil society representatives, delegations and official member state missions from Africa, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.
Ms. Hagar Monsif; Researcher and Head of the African and sustainable development department at Maat Association has moderated the session. Mr. Kofi Kankam representative from the NGO Major Group and Mr. BIYIKA LAWRENCE ONEGIU; Uganda Parliament member and expert in environment issues; were the panelists.
The session tackled the case of water from an international perspective in the African continent and how it effects states relations, specially states sharing Niles. The current situation shows that the world is suffering from the growing problem of lack of water as a result of climate change, environmental pollution, and increasing population in relation to the fixed water resources.
As indicated during his speech; Mr. Kofi Kankam highlighted the African states’ status in relation to water and the effects of the destruction of water resources as a result to the environmental pollution and the failing water policies. As well he discussed the harmful effects of the lack of clean drinking water or sanitation in Africa. He mentioned that the only victims in this regard are women and children, as they are forced to walk long distances to get clean water, which make them under risk. On the other hand, Mr. Kofi stressed that the most damaged sector is certainly the agricultural sector, which could lead to a threat to food and then turn the crisis from water security to food security as well.
Mr. BIYIKA LAWRENCE ONEGIU, a member of the Ugandan Parliament and an expert on the environment issues; stressed without clean water, there is no peace “No water, No peace”. Mr. Biyika also referred to the water problems currently facing the African continent which the most important of is the poor sanitation and water pollution that has a harmful effect on Health and then on societies.
During the session, Ms. Hagar Monsif presented a concept paper prepared by the Maat Association on the deteriorating status of the water of in states, as the countries that had water abundance ten years ago are suffering from increasing water problems and countries that had water problems ten years ago are now in a state of water scarcity. The paper also presented; the issue of water conflict, which means the possibility of countries entering into military wars to acquire new water resources or to maintain existing water resources or the worst situation is to reach the degree of conflict of individuals on water resources within the territory of a single state.
Finally; the event recommended the need to find sources of funding for water and sanitation projects, develop effective local, regional and international water policies and create a successful “Mechanism of implementation”. The session also recommended civil society organizations to develop a mechanism of dialogue between the government, the private sector and stakeholders concerned with water issues, in order to develop mechanisms to reconcile various water policies such as agriculture and other industrial policies. This mechanism will allow the exchange of ideas from different points of view and ultimately lead to a significant positive development in water crisis.
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