Desalination is an option for reducing water stress that has advanced spectacularly. It is a process that faces the challenges of reducing costs, avoiding gas emissions, and solving the polluting problems of brine, its main waste product. It can be an option for developing countries, provided its suitability is evaluated, the technological gap is eliminated with the appropriate alliances, and public-private collaboration is adopted as a fair and effective model.
In this turbulent 2022, we have helped people displaced by war and improved the lives of farmers and schoolchildren. The rights of women and children to access water, sanitation, and hygiene have remained our main focus. We have participated in major international debates on climate and water, promoting dialogue and awareness. But it is not enough; we must continue to move forward to turn water and sanitation from a problem into a solution.
The "loss and damage" fund is undoubtedly a step forward, but many urgent issues seem to have taken a back seat at COP27. We still lack clear and consensus-based agreements on mitigating global warming and the deterioration of biodiversity. Water has, however, gained considerable prominence, and there are hopeful initiatives.
We owe our present existence to hair loss and sweat on bare skin. These evolutionary traits gave us thermoregulation, which allowed us to thrive outside the shade of the forest. It also created a total dependence on immediate access to water that has stayed with us to this day.
They have been our partners in evolution, and now they are under threat. Wetlands represent the subtle link between land and water, which is why they suffer the consequences of climate change, overexploitation, and pollution. They should be considered internationally as carbon sinks and crucial ecosystems for 40% of the world's biodiversity. They are the best sustainability advisors we have.
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.
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