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.
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.
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.
Groundwater extraction and large dams affect the tilt of the Earth's axis and the rotation speed. These are irrelevant phenomena, but they invite us to reflect on our accumulated power.
Losses from natural disasters reached USD 275 billion in 2022. Only 125 billion were covered by insurance. The World Bank takes action and warns that poverty is synonymous with vulnerability. Climate forecasts force us to take a different approach and face a management challenge that cannot be postponed.
Water science is essential for understanding and managing groundwater resources. It provides knowledge that should be accessible to all, especially those without access. It is the basis for agricultural self-sufficiency, health, and dignity. Our experience recovering wells and water bodies corroborates its importance in facing droughts with sustainable facilities.
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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