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.
International action to protect the seas has not yet begun. Although we understand its importance now more than ever, the recent Ocean Conference in New York has not resulted in any agreement beyond declarations of good intentions. Promoting and disseminating the idea of thinking about water, regardless of whether it is fresh or salty, is a necessary step to unblock the disastrous international standstill that is undermining all SDGs.
Water must be at the top of the world's agenda. It is key to all human activities and forces us to reconsider a new approach to nature. The recent World Water Week concludes by advocating profound social transformations as the basis for solving problems on a global scale. The experts pointed out that there are many more solutions than are usually talked about.
The environmental and psychological impact of droughts is most significant in those areas where they are rare. In recent months, people in large areas of the northern hemisphere's wetlands have experienced unprecedented water shortages since records exist. Extraordinary measures have been taken, while millions have experienced water stress for the first time. May their astonishment serve to fight global warming.
Millions of households around the world need water from tanker trucks to live. Droughts, overexploitation, pollution, and lack of investment in infrastructure make this population grow by the day. It is an essential type of supply when all else fails, but it is often informal, unregulated, and without health guarantees. We must consider this so that this solution is fair for everyone and does not jeopardize the future of access to water.
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