The future of food security depends on achieving maximum efficiency in agricultural water use. Nearly three quarters of the freshwater we withdraw is used for crops and livestock. Irrigating efficiently and developing low water footprint methods will enable us to cope with the water stress that climate change is only increasing.
We are facing a global crisis never before experienced. COP 28 is perhaps the international conference that will have the most significant relevance for the future of humankind. No corner of the planet, nor any of its eight billion inhabitants, can escape climate change. The response must address mitigation and adaptation simultaneously. And it must be immediate and generous on the part of those contributing most to warming.
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.
The large Nile basin is the stage for the biggest political disagreement over access to water resources in recent times. The interests of Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia represent the dramatic dependence of agriculture, energy, security, and the environment on water management. Partnerships must prove that we can meet and overcome a challenge of this magnitude.
The dissemination of fake news and campaigns aimed at discrediting the SDGs and the science behind them has increased in recent years. Denialism and conspiracy theories exploit climate alarm to confuse public opinion with clear political intent. Knowing how to communicate science and solidarity-based solutions is the antidote.
Rainfall is a critical parameter in the global economic balance. Droughts are more damaging in the most disadvantaged economies, and their negative impact is magnified where there has been less rainfall in the past. Rainfall variability, generated by global warming, adds uncertainty. A recent World Bank study alerts us and provides an alternative vision for moving forward.
Securing clean water and safe sanitation and hygiene facilities is essential but not enough. Knowledge must go hand in hand with achievement. Schools are the foundation for health and hygienically efficient behavior, and students guarantee that communities keep moving forward. Two new projects in India give us a broader perspective.
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