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NEWS: Report released prior to UN ‘special discussion’ on the global water crisis

In advance of a United Nations meeting on the global water crisis later this month, the Canadian Press reports, “A prestigious group of former world leaders and experts is sounding the alarm about a water crisis that threatens peace, political stability and economic development around the globe. The InterAction Council has issued a new report warning that the future impact of water scarcity could be devastating.”

The article continues, “The report comes as foreign ministers from a number of countries prepare for a special discussion of the water crisis later this month on the margins of the UN General Assembly. The report doesn’t call for specific action by the UN. But former Canadian prime minister Jean Chretien, who co-chairs the council, says the group is trying to raise awareness of the urgency of the crisis in hopes that the Security Council will recognize water as a top security concern facing the planet.”

In June 2011, we noted that the InterAction Council had met in Quebec City and that, as highlighted in their media release, “At the conclusion of the meeting, the group urged a new international water ethic and offered political office-holders today some 21 recommendations for world water management moving forward. Recommendations include ‘placing water at the forefront of the global political agenda,’ linking climate change research and adaptation programs to water issues, making the right to water legally enforceable, raising the price of water to reflect its economic value while making provisions for people in poverty, preferring the growth of food over biofuel crops in places where water supplies are threatened, and encouraging the UN Security Council to take up water as a security concern.”

In the lead up to that May 29-31 InterAction Council meeting in Quebec City, the Globe and Mail reported, “Chrétien says it is time for Canadians to debate whether they should share their water with the rest of the world, noting the country exports other natural resources such as oil and gas. …We’re selling oil. It’s finite. We’re selling natural gas. It’s finite. Water, it’s raining and snowing in Canada every year. Water is something that is not finite.” That article added, “Chrétien’s comments drew swift rebuke from the Council of Canadians, a group that has long advocated for a national ban on bulk-water exports. The organization’s chairwoman, Maude Barlow, said it is disconcerting that the long-time federal leader is opening the door to a water-trade debate.”

More on the outcomes of the Quebec City meeting at http://canadians.org/blog/?p=9292; more on Chretien’s comments and Barlow’s rebuke at http://canadians.org/blog/?p=9267.