Covid-19 has led to the closure of educational activities. But the Internet has allowed rich countries to soften the impact. In poorer countries, with a more vulnerable educational system, this has not been possible. Mankind urgently needs to close the digital gap to maintain educational development. This is borne out by the testimony of those who are fighting for access to water, sanitation and hygiene.
Beyond human tragedy, COVID-19 poses a reflection on how we relate to each other and to nature. And it leads us to another vision of the problems that beset the human species. The new society that is emerging from the crisis will have to integrate health emergencies into a more global vision with the values of proportionality and cohesion that are characteristic of the culture of the green economy. The path towards the SDGs must be aware of the fact that a pollution-free and ecologically balanced planet is synonymous with health.
Do we eat sustainably? The meaning of this sentence is different for someone living in NYC o in Dhaka, or for a farmer in the French Burgundy, in Anantapur or in the African Sahel. The responses do not allow us to draw global conclusions either. The food challenge faced by mankind is enormous: in addition to the need of water and land there is now the carbon footprint. The climate crisis is present in the diet of those who have the privilege of eating breakfast, lunch and dinner every day. And what about all those who don’t?
In the progress towards global sustainability, the access to water and sanitation plays a double role: it is at the same time a tool and a goal of the solutions. From agriculture to the domestic supply, it provides essential information to attain SDG 6. To achieve it, governments and companies need to take into account the enormous existing asymmetries and ensure that no one is left behind.
The climate crisis can cause a severe demographic imbalance in countries that already experience a considerable water stress: uncontrolled internal migrations, less visible than cross-border ones, but with increasingly uncertain consequences. A study by the World Bank draws the attention of the international community and takes a first step towards the creation of a model to follow up a phenomenon that may affect more than 140 million people.
Water will always be there, but not water security. It is a more enveloping concept that allows experts to better communicate the complexity of the urban water cycle to citizens, making them participate in its management model, in its benefits and risks. Well informed users enable the creation of a context with a participatory and transparent governance in which we all feel involved. Water security goes beyond the simple access to water and implies constant work.
The awareness of the importance of water and sanitation moves forward. The impact of the World Water Day events organized by the Foundation all around the world proves that the civil society is increasingly taking up the challenge for humanity that no one is left behind: to achieve effective, global and inclusive governance.
Those who are invisible in the censuses, discriminated women, the inhabitants of the most vulnerable slums, all those ruined by droughts, those surrounded by polluted water, those on the other side of the technological barrier and those with no access to education on hygiene; all these population groups risk being excluded of the attainment of the Human Right to Water and Sanitation.
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