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.
Scientific evidence of climate change is not enough. We need a social transformation that takes us from concern to awareness and from there to action. We must turn climate challenges into a value of social belonging in which each of us can act meaningfully.
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.
In the wake of the pandemic, the global economy is celebrating the recovery of the tourism industry, one of the most critical drivers of the world's distributive economy. This new tourism should lead to a far-reaching development model that will be a benchmark of sustainability in our way of living on Earth. The awareness of the new tourists is the most solid hope.
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