The UN Development
Programme (UNDP) Associate Administrator, Ms Rebecca Grynspan, says water is at the heart of a daily crisis faced by millions of the most vulnerable people in the world.
“This is also threatening life and livelihoods, peace and human security,” the UNDP added.
She told a High-level International Conference on Water Cooperation in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, on Wednesday that around 770 million people worldwide still lack access to potable water supply and that 2.5 billion lack access to basic sanitation.
A transcript of her address, made available to PANA in New York, quoted Ms. Grynspan, as saying that not only was the world experiencing explosive growth in the demand for water resources, but water waste and water pollution were increasingly threatening the integrity of aquatic and agro ecosystems vital for life and food security.
“Climate change is not helping either, increasing variability in the water cycle, and exacerbating extreme events like floods and droughts complicate even further an already immense water management and water governance challenge,’’ she noted.
She disclosed that if these trends continued by 2025, as many as three billion people could be living in areas facing water stress.
The UNDP official, however, stressed that countries must collaborate to increase access to clean water and sanitation and improve water management for irrigation and productive uses, which had the potential of lifting millions out of poverty and hunger.
“The importance of this cooperation should feature prominently in the post-2015 development agenda, as well as in the formulation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“Water is at the heart of a daily crisis faced by millions of the most vulnerable people in the world,” she said.
She also emphasised that effective and inclusive water cooperation at all levels – local, national, regional, and international was essential for effective water governance and thus to achieving key water-related objectives and targets.
“At the national level, community involvement, women’s voices and participation and private sector cooperation are essential.
“At the regional level, dialogue, information sharing and cooperation on trans-boundry waters to advance peace, security, environmental protection, and regional economic development should be supported.
“And at global level, international standards, goals and targets on water and related issues like climate change and cooperation mechanisms such as UN-Water, the Sanitation and Water for All initiative, and indeed, the International Year of Water Cooperation itself, are key,’’ she stated.
The Conference, Grynspan said, would serve to further inform UN member states on this issue as they undertake the process of designing the post-2015 and sustainable development agenda.
“Governments, the UN system, private sector, civil society and citizens at large all have to come together, and raise their voices for a post-2015 and sustainable development agenda that will be owned by all. I urge all of you to stay engaged and participate in this unprecedented global conversation,’’ she added.
PANA reported that as part of its efforts to tackle these issues, the UN had declared 2013 as the International Yearof Water Cooperation.
Sanitation Marshalls Warn Against Dumping Refuse In Gutters
The Coordinator of Rivers
State Sanitation Marshalls, Prince Sodin Akiaba has warned residents of Port Harcourt and it environs against dumping of refuse into drainages.
Speaking in an interview with The Tide in Port Harcourt, Prince Akiabo blamed uses of flooding in parts of Port Harcourt especially in the Mile III area of the indiscriminate dumping of refuse into the gutters.
He said that with the approach of the rainy season, there is need for caution on the part of the people against indiscriminate refuse disposal.
Prince Akiaba said that the situation could lead to massive flooding across the city thereby creating health problem for the people.
He said that there is need for neighbourhood vigilantees to check this situation.
“Every street in Port Harcourt should formed a vigilantee to monitor refuse disposal in their street.
“This is the only way to stop the indiscriminate dumping of refuse in the drains,” he said.
The coordinator said that the sanitation marshalls can help the government to check this trend, if approval is given to that effect by the government.
He used the occasion to commend the Rivers State Ministry of Environment and the Rivers State Environmental Sanitation Authority for the efforts in keeping the city clean, but noted that the two agencies need to work with stakeholders for effective result.
NOSDRA Seeks Oil Spill Response Base
The National Oil Spill De
tection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) has called on the military to establish an Oil Spill Response Base (OSRB) for quick intervention during oil spill emergencies.
Mr Peter Idabor, the Director General of the agency, made the call during a courtesy visit to Vice Admiral Usman Jibril, the Chief of Naval Staff, in Abuja.
Idabor said the base, if established, would serve as a veritable security for quick response and intervention by the agency during oil spill emergencies.
He recalled the Bonga oil spill incident and commended the Navy for providing a vessel to NOSDRA that ensured quick response.
According to him, crises usually occurred between affected communities and companies involved during oil spill emergencies.
He said partnership with the Navy had become critical due to its role in providing security to the maritime environment.
“It has become more critical for us to partner with the Nigerian Navy, especially when it has to do with issues relating to oil spill in this country.
“When there is a large oil spill, there is usually conflict between the community and the company involved.
“In most cases, it is sabotage and in such cases, we require the military to come in at certain point.’’
He said that most of the deaths in the Niger Delta had positive correlations with oil spillage.
He explained that people were at the risk of being affected by eating food that come from such polluted environment.
He also said the life span of most Nigerians was shortening due to the effect oil spill on the ecosystem.
“The attitudes of our oil explorers, especially when spills occur, it does not bother them that over a million of chemicals are spilled into the sea, which is very dangerous to health.
“The oil spill contaminate our aquatic resources and it affects the entire food chain as long as we survive on the food chain.’’
Responding, Jibril said the Navy was familiar with the operation of the agency, adding that it would support NOSDRA to stop oil spill in the country.
He said the force was also aware of the effects of oil spill to aquatic life and the environment.
The Navy Chief also commended the agency’s cooperation with the military, saying “you have reduced spillage and its attendant effects in the country within this few days.
“We are ready to contribute to stop oil spillage and we are ready to give to you information about spillage whenever they occur.
“Our new boats that we are importing from China have facilities to contain oil spillage.’’
He however, said the delay in the release of boats to the agency was to control their misuse and advised the agency’s management to henceforth, put in its administrative request at their time of need.
He gave an assurance that the Navy would reduce administrative bottlenecks to enable the agency to access the facility during emergencies.
Jibril, however, sought the support of NOSDRA in the provision of infrastructure to the force, saying, “we need to support one another to achieve our goals.
“We have the human capital base to do what we are trained to do; what we need more is the infrastructure and we call on other organisations to support us too.’’
N300m Debt Worries C’River Water Board
Mr James Buchan, the
General Manager (Operations) of Cross River State Water Board, said more than N300 million owed it by various consumers in the state posed a challenge to its operations.
Buchan said this in an interview with the newsmen in Calabar last week, saying that the board was worried about the debt.
He said the board spent an average of N25 million monthly on diesel and chemicals to sustain water supply, urging the consumers who owed to settle their bills.
The general manager said that the state government paid its water bills regularly, urging the consumer’s to emulate the government by paying their bills to avoid disconnection.
Buchan further advised the consumers to always make genuine complaints about the services of the board to guarantee uninterrupted clean water supply.
The manager also urged consumers to shun illegal connection and to report to the board, those, including its staff members, who engaged in fraudulent activities.
“We want to supply to the public well treated water, we want to provide 24 hours service to the people, but we can only do this with the help of the people,’’ he said.
Buchan promised that Geographic Information System had been put in place to streamline the operations of the board and improve services.
He said the board was also worried over the damage of its pipelines worth more than N300 million by road construction companies in the state.
Buchan said the board had, however, drawn the attention of the officials of the concerned construction companies to the development.
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