Last May, we completed a well construction project at the Ngubo school in the Lupane district, one of the poorest in Zimbabwe. The benefits for students and their families show how improved access to water changes lives: it provides health and dignity, boosts the educational process, and generates knowledge to adapt to the climate crisis and fight against poverty.
Violence and the climate crisis have already displaced 100 million people worldwide. The meeting "Sanitation in Conflict," which we organized with World Vision, UNICEF, and UNHCR on World Toilet Day, revealed little-known aspects of a humanitarian crisis that is spreading and that, in many cases, we tend to forget.
In addition to the broad panel of scientific information, mitigation actions, and adaptation strategies to the climate crisis, the parties meeting in Sharm El Sheik must reach a fundamental agreement: how to calculate the loss and damage of global warming and how to finance it fairly. The Foundation is involved in two debates: decarbonization and its link to water and economic activity and establishing innovative cooperation strategies, two key issues in achieving any goal.
Scientific evidence of climate change is not enough. We need a social transformation that takes us from concern to awareness and from there to action. We must turn climate challenges into a value of social belonging in which each of us can act meaningfully.
The world’s youngest country is experiencing its worst humanitarian crisis. Plagued by droughts, recurring floods, and unending war violence, South Sudan is a lacerating example of neglect, ineffective governance, and climate injustice, three scourges that often coincide.
In a new project in Malawi, we address menstrual hygiene and education in schools as a comprehensive and irreplaceable element of any approach to access to water and sanitation. Beyond clean water and safe latrines, school children need dedicated facilities, access to supplies, teacher training, and cultural changes among the children, their parents, and the rest of the community. Only then can we talk about complete sanitation.
International cooperation must not remain just a goal. Achieving effective global alliances is essential to confront the climate and humanitarian crises we are experiencing. We must move from declarations of good intentions to tangible and binding commitments. Civil society is responsible for mobilizing and pushing political and institutional power in this direction. This is especially evident in the problems of access to water and sanitation.
In recent years, severe droughts and heat waves have triggered a water crisis in the basin of the Euphrates, Syria's main river and the cradle of the first civilization in history. Its deterioration threatens the survival of a population exhausted by more than a decade of war in which lack of water has been used as a ruthless weapon.
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