Meeting physiological needs remains unsafe for more than 962 million people without adequate facilities. The global achievement of health, full schooling, and gender equality depends on one of the simplest and most inexpensive elements of sanitation. On World Toilet Day, the UN reminds us that we are still far from having toilets for everyone.
Those who leave their land because of droughts and floods often do not return. They lived directly off land that has become barren. The legal vacuum of their situation leaves millions of displaced people helpless. It is a rapidly growing phenomenon, but one that we can stop and reverse.
We are not progressing as we should to meet the 2030 Agenda. Despite improvements in some goals, the lack of progress is troubling in eradicating extreme poverty, improving food security, and climate and environmental action. There is also a slowdown in water and sanitation. A recent UN report summarizes a situation that we must reverse.
This summer's floods in the Mediterranean have exceeded all forecasts. The tragedy in Libya shows the lethal vulnerability of the combination of a cyclone and the neglect of water facilities. Implementing the Global Early Warning Initiative becomes urgent, as does the visibility of the most exposed areas of the world with the most vulnerable water facilities.
The urgency of finding new forms of collaboration was a recurring message at World Water Week. We have exceeded the planetary water limits, and the need for a change of mindset in innovation and governance must involve all sectors and all countries.
The heat absorbed by cities affects the health of their inhabitants, alters local weather, and pollutes water. Fighting this phenomenon is possible and necessary for a future in which more than 70% of the population will live in cities. Bringing nature back into the asphalt and concrete is the solution.
Indigenous peoples inhabit a quarter of the planet's surface but protect 80% of our remaining biodiversity. They are seriously threatened by deforestation, industrial agriculture, tourism, and extractivism. They lose their land and water and bear the brunt of climate change. We have a responsibility to end their injustice, for they must help us make this world more livable.
The climate crisis expresses itself through water. Droughts, floods, desertification, melting ice... These phenomena challenge our capacity to adapt and directly affect most SDGs. We must place water at the center of all strategies to achieve resilience.
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