[Prepared for a brief]
As I stand here in front of my contemporaries, I believe we are here to talk about one of the two core issues that the fate of the countries in 21st century will depend on—water. We often hear that “the third world war will be about water.” I often fear that it will be a reality for the third world nations. As we lag behind in natural resource and energy sources, sustainable source of water is a key concern for our countries.
Finding the source of fresh water and managing it—is a core issue, I feel specially for African countries. But what is surprising is the fact that most of the countries have policies and strategies regarding water and sanitation. But unfortunately, none of the instruments fully cover the ground reality as often those are made based on standard policies of developed world. The scenario is different in case of low and middle income countries. An example of such occurred in 1992, when nations of the world came up with their environment policies at Rio where each and every policy presented was illustrating a bright future. But few years later we found the implementation was tough at it met little of the ground reality.
Environment and women are linked like a chain to each other. Development of one can certainly be the reason of upholding the situation of the other and vis-à-vis. In the arena of water, it is the women, who play, nevertheless, a key role of associating the water with the human world. Therefore, we really need to understand the dynamics of the inner affiliation between women and water. Most framed Water Policies are not generated in gender sensitive manner and there are evident flaws in implementation of the policies.
Corruption, cost and quality are issues that we already talked about in water sector. As researches have proved that living condition is highly correlated with water access to people, it is high time we think of sustainable, affordable and effective process for developing countries. Community awareness is necessary to provide such service and to deal with associated problems I mentioned. With awareness corruption, cost and quality can be dealt with, authorities need to provide platforms to keep people accountable. We should focus on local research as well. Sustainability of water system will vary region to region and it’s important to consider local resources as well as supply method and purification process.
So core issues, I believe are source, quality, management, cost, gender sensitivity, accountability and sustainability for the water policies. To ignore any would be a mistake in this 21st century.