At the eastern tip of the Horn of Africa, Somalia is struggling with an unprecedented humanitarian crisis. Recurrent droughts and endemic violence plague the country and show the complexity of the challenge the international community must face.
COP15 on biodiversity has been the first in which the private sector has participated. It is a realistic and practical step forward that reverses the flow of pressure from citizens and companies to political power and promotes the understanding of natural capital as an irreplaceable value that must be preserved.
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.
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.
Urban runoff from heavy downpours releases a vast amount of water that is lost, pollutes, and causes flooding. Controlling this water that cannot flow through impermeable soil and taking advantage of its enormous potential is one of the keys to the regenerative city envisaged in SDG 11.
Sign up to receive news about the water crisis and We Are Water projects.