Future world wars ‘will be for water’




WARS could break out unless more is done to preserve the world’s scarce water resources, a top government official has warned.

Foreign Minister Shaikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa urged governments to draw up strategies to prevent shortages, as demand rises for human consumption, agriculture, industries and tourism.

“Future world wars will be mainly focused on water needs knowing the current unavailability. We don’t want to reach that and have to work to avoid it,” he said.

“We are threatened with this intriguing issue and have to co-operate to come up with long-term solutions for it.”

Shaikh Khalid was speaking during the launch of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) – the Regional Bureau for Arab States (RBAS) report on water governance at the Sheraton Hotel yesterday.

He called for an agreement with neighbouring countries on water boundaries so projects could be implemented whenever funding was available.

“We in the Gulf have excellent financial resources, but still need to work on getting more human resources that are qualified and experienced to preserve water,” said the minister.

“Water scarcity and rarity doesn’t just concern one country or several in the region, but the whole Arab world, and this is why we need to get financing from banks like the African Arab Bank and the Islamic Bank for Development.

“The UNDP and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia could also provide us in the Arab world with assistance.”

Shaikh Khalid said Bahrain used to have natural springs, but today they disappeared and many people knew little about them.

“There are other countries like Iraq, Palestine, Jordan, Egypt and Yemen that are facing water problems and this is why a strategy is necessary to conserve water and put them in the right places,” he said.

Meanwhile, UNDP administrator Helen Clark called for diplomacy when tackling water disputes over transnational boundaries.

“It is a real threat that could turn into a war as Shaikh Khalid said and we have to work to come up with integrated and effective solutions,” she said.

“The solutions could be economic, social, local community and municipal levels and the international community has long been committed to promoting access to safe drinking water as a basic right for all.

“But, to achieve that, sustainable water management is essential.”

Source: GDN

In: News Asked By: [192 Blue Star Level]

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