Fighting climate change with hands tied
Ambassador Matthew Rycroft, United Kingdom representative to the United Nations (UN) on Transboundary Waters, told the UN Security Council on June 6 that a gloomy future awaits if the entity doesn’t take steps to counter climate change.
“Across the world, climate change is undermining water security. In almost all climate change scenarios the world’s driest regions become drier and flooding will become more common across the globe. If we aren’t taking steps to address climate change, we are fighting with one hand tied behind our back,” said Rycroft.
“The stakes are high. Over three quarters of UN Member States share river basins with another country and more than two billion people live in shared river basins in the developing world. And yet, the outlook for 2030 is fragile. We are simply not on track.”
Rycroft explained that by the UN’s estimates demand for water in many developing countries will outstrip supply by 40 percent by the time it is supposed to achieve Global Goal 6. “If such scarcity is combined with weak governance, population growth, migration and climate change, we may face a potential upsurge in global conflict in the future,” he said.
Rycroft added that the UN was committed to deliver improved water security, improved access to drinking water and sanitation, and stronger transboundary water management through its Global Goals, but there needed to be more investment in the institutions and infrastructure to deliver improved water security within and between states.
Rycroft concluded: “We need to tackle this problem on a global scale; we’ll need more than bilateral or regional action. We’ll need to work together, through this institution and others. Holding this briefing is an important step, but this effort needs to be sustained; we cannot solve it through one meeting a year. If we’re to make progress on this issue before 2030, we need to see the bigger picture.”