UN chief highlights benefits of investing in water management

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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (centre) addresses the opening of the Second UN Special Thematic Session on Water and Disasters. He is flanked by Mogens Lykketoft (left), President of the seventieth session of the General Assembly; and Han Seung-soo, UN Special Envoy on Disaster Risk Reduction and Water. UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

Ensuring clean water and sanitation for all people while also strengthening management of water resources such as wetlands, rivers and lakes, will also address global concerns over food security and rapid urbanization.

That statement comes from the UN Secretary-General during an address to a UN General Assembly meeting on the issue of water and disasters held on Wednesday.

Dianne Penn reports.

Water and disaster resilience are "intimately related," according to the UN Secretary-General.

For example, too little water could spell drought, while too much water in the form of floods or storms could devastate entire cities.

Mr Ban said natural disasters like these have caused more than US$1 trillion in damage and affected more than four billion people over the past 25 years.

He pointed out that water management and disaster risk reduction are included in the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with SDG 6 calling for access to water and sanitation for all.

Achieving SDG6 and the disaster risk reduction targets would lay the foundations for food security, increase access to energy and help address the challenges of rapid urbanization. Investments in climate resilience and disaster risk reduction can also help combat climate change, save lives and avoid the destruction of vital infrastructure. 

The Secretary-General also urged countries to make the most of the climate change conference which opens in Paris at the end of the month.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 1'17"

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