Vörösmarty Addresses UN Group on Global Water Crisis


Charles J. Vörösmarty, director of the ASRC’s Environmental CrossRoads Initiative, will speak to United Nations representatives on the emerging global water crisis at a meeting at the Hungarian mission on May 3.

Dr. Vörösmarty will discuss global threats to human water security and biodiversity. The meeting is hosted by the Steering Group of the Friends of Water, a committee created by the missions of Finland, Tajikistan, Thailand and Hungary. The group was formed prior to last year’s “Rio+20” Conference on Sustainable Development and has continued to lead discussions of the need for water sustainability worldwide. Hungary has been at the center of negotiations to adopt  “universal water security” as one of the sustainable development goals to succeed the UN’s Millennium Development Goals in 2000.

The meeting will feature Dr. Vörösmarty and Olav Kjorven, assistant secretary general and director of the United Nations Development Programme.

Dr. Vörösmarty will elaborate on the research of a group he led whose work was published in Nature in 2010. He and the international team presented the first synthesis of research on worldwide water security from the perspectives of both human need and biodiversity. It found that nearly 80 percent of the world’s population lives in countries with high levels of threat to water security, and that massive investment in water technology is leaving poor nations vulnerable and failing to remedy the underlying causes even in wealthy countries.

“There are alternatives to the standard, high-priced engineering solutions to our water worries,” says Dr. Vörösmarty.  The research team urged policies and approaches “limiting threats at their source instead of through costly remediation of symptoms in order to assure global water security for both humans and freshwater biodiversity.”

“There is a genuine consensus that water and sanitation are essential elements of future human life on Earth,” says the Steering Group of the Friends of Water. “However by 2025 nearly two-thirds of the countries are expected to be water-stressed.”