UN/ GORBACHEV

21-Apr-2005
Continuation of the of the High Level Segment on "Turning Political Commitments into Action ": H.E. Mr. Mikhail Gorbachev, President of Green Cross International, speaking on water and sanitation. UN-HABITAT/ UNICEF/ WORLD BANK/ UNTV

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STORY: GORBACHEV / SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

TRT: 2.06

SOURCE: UNTV / UN-HABITAT/ WORLD BANK / UNICEF

RESTRCTIONS: NONE

LANGUAGE: CH 1 RUSSIAN / NATS
CH 2 RUSSIAN / NATS

DATELINE: 21 APRIL 2005 / FILE

SHOTLIST:

1. Wide shot, exterior, United Nations
2. Med shot, Gorbachev seated at Sustainable Development meeting
3. Wide shot, delegates listening
4. SOUNDBITE (Russian) Mikhail Gorbachev, former Soviet President, President, Green Cross International:
"We must understand, it is impossible to look at water as simply a commodity. The various functions of which are equivalent and replaceable. Water for life, this is a very foundation which enables the whole human organisms capacities and functions and this must be acknowledged as the major priority."
5. Cutaway, delegates listening
6. SOUNDBITE (Russian) Mikhail Gorbachev, former Soviet President:
"There is no international document which guarantees every person the right to economic and accessible drinking water and would be biding on national governments to observe this right and what's more important, would propose a model and machinery for implementing it."
7. Wide shot, delegates

FILE - UN-HABITAT - Philippines

8. Various shots, slums

FILE - WORLD BANK - Mauritania

9. Wide shot, child picking through garbage
10. Close up, child playing in garbage
11. Med shot, boy plays with tire in garbage

FILE - UNICEF - Kenya, September 2002 - UNICEF

12. Med shot, looking down into well, three women are inside collecting water
13. Close up, from above, woman scoops water into bucket
14. Med shot, several girls walk towards camera carrying jerry cans full of water on their backs
15. Close up, one of the girls walking towards the camera with a clearly heavy bucket on her back
16. Close up, water pours from a tap onto lots of young hands which are being washed clean. Camera zooms out, panning up to reveal their faces






STORYLINE:

Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev addressed delegates on universal access to water and basic sanitation, before the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development on Thursday, April 21, in New York.

Gorbachev, who spoke before the UN high-level forum as president of the Green Cross International, said it is impossible to look at water as just a commodity and that water for life is the foundation which enables the whole human organism to function must be acknowledged as a major priority.

"Water and Sanitation" as theme of the discussion has called widespread attention because of the dwindling potable water supply already being experienced in many places around the globe, not the least in the Philippines.

In the Philippines, fresh water crisis may not be as acute as in many other countries but recent events indicate that we may be facing it sooner than we probably earlier imagined. In Cabanatuan, for instance, it was reported yesterday that the city's groundwater level has been sinking at an alarming rate of at least one meter a year since 1978. During summer months, drinking water is a perennial problem in many parts of the country, particularly in the cities.

In the countryside, rivers which some years back used to swell with flowing clear water have been receding at critical level while others are visibly drying up into shallow tributaries. Countries with vulnerable drinking water sources include parts of Central and South American countries, Eastern Europe, Jordan, Africa, and Russia.

Gorbachev, whose parents came from peasant stock and him a former Soviet agriculture official, said he "saw first hand the effects of drought on harvest, and of mismanaging water supplies on the environment." A Nobel Peace Prize laureate, the former soviet leader deplored how the "dwindling water supplies and political resistance have hampered efforts to bring fresh water to the poor around the world."

According to the Associated Press, he is pressing world leaders to adopt a treaty guaranteeing clean water and sanitation for the people, a task he says is more daunting than ending the nuclear arms race during the Cold War.

It may be remembered that it was Gorbachev who made possible the end of the Cold War starting with the adoption by the USSR of the policy of peaceful co-existence as its credo that resulted in the ultimate fall of the Berlin Wall.

After a long absence from the scene, Gorbachev is back on the global stage as champion of sustainable development goals, rallying wealthy nations to take the leadership in doing more to solve the serious problem over safe drinking water and proper sanitation.
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UN-HABITAT/ UNICEF/ WORLD BANK/ UNTV
Asset ID
U050421c