Permanent Representative of Romania to the UN pleaded for the protection of water at the High-level Meeting on “Implementation of the water-related goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda”
Speaking on 22 March 2021, at the High-level Meeting on “Implementation of the Water-related Goals and Targets of the 2030 Agenda”, the Permanent Representative of Romania to the UN, Ambassador Ion I. Jinga, underlined the critical role water plays for preserving all forms of life on our planet. Recalling the celebration of the World Water Day on 22 March, he noted that: “The word “Water” is synonymous to “Life”, but water is threatened globally by the increasing demand and degradation due to climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss. Water scarcity may soon become the new normal in some parts of the world”.
The Romanian diplomat exemplified with recent illustrative data: “Today, 785 million people lack basic water service and two billion people do not have access to basic sanitation. By 2040, one in four of the world’s children under 18 – some 600 million – will be living in areas of extremely high-water stress. By 2050, water scarcity may affect 5.7 billion people. More than 90% of natural disasters are water-related. Increased flooding threatens to destroy water points and sanitation facilities and contaminate our water sources.”
Referring to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, he stressed that water and sanitation cut across all three pillars of the United Nations – peace and security, human rights and development – and water is required to deliver not only SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation for all), but almost all other SDGs, from global health to food security.
In the context, he highlighted the importance of ensuring resilient and sustainable water related ecosystems, safe water supply and sanitation services for preventing and containing pandemics: “Water and sanitation are key to fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, yet three billion people – 40% of the global population – lack basic handwashing facilities at home. These reflections are grounded in a bitter reality and the answer is in our hands. We have now got the momentum and there is a global awareness on the need for action”.
The Ambassador pointed out Romania’s contribution to transposing political commitments into concrete implementation: “Romania is fully engaged in the global efforts to address these challenges. During Romania’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union, the Council adopted a set of conclusions on the topic “Towards an ever more sustainable Union by 2030”. Romania is an active participant to the works of the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River, and within the framework of the Convention for the Protection of the Black Sea against Pollution. In 2016, my country co-sponsored the resolution 71/222 of the UN General Assembly on the implementation of the Water Action Decade (2018-2028). In 2019, Romania held the Presidency of the EU Strategy for the Danube River”.
Ambassador Jinga mentioned the partnership between Romania and the UN Regional Center for Preventive Diplomacy in Central Asia, for the implementation of the project “Strengthening cooperation on trans-boundary water sharing in the Aral Sea Basin”, as well as the fact that Romania allocated 10% of its 2020 National Annual Plan for international cooperation for development and humanitarian assistance to Small Island Developing States, co-financing projects aimed to improving water security, biodiversity and conservation, and disaster preparedness in Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Palau, and made voluntary contributions to the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency and to the Alliance of Small Island States.
He concluded by saying: “Thus it is that the time has come for us to act, to reverse the cycle of decline our cumulative habits have imposed upon the water resources. As the 35th US President John F. Kennedy noted: “We all came from the sea. And it is an interesting biological fact that all of us have in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean. We have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, we are going back from whence we came.””