OTTAWA – As climate talks take centre stage in Paris this week, a UNESCO conference is discussing the resource most at risk from climate change: water. International water expert Maude Barlow, National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians, was a keynote speaker at the opening ceremony of Water, Megacities and Global Change in Paris today.
“We can’t talk about climate policies without first discussing water and the myriad of threats to its protection,” says Barlow. “We are exploiting our rivers to death and most major rivers no longer reach the sea. As well, we are over-pumping groundwater so relentlessly that aquifers are not being replenished. Dramatic action is needed and the time is now.”
Author of dozens of reports and books on issues of water, sustainability and democracy, Barlow has also served as a senior advisor on water to the 63rd president of the UN General Assembly.
“The human right to water is an issue of justice, not charity,” said Barlow in her keynote address. “It requires a challenge to the current power structures that support unequal access to the world’s endangered water supplies... The dominant model of development followed by most of our leaders and international institutions is not only a huge part of the problem but it is getting in the way of a solution.”