U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged countries around the world to make water a priority in their foreign policy and find cooperative solutions to shared water challenges.
«Water should be a priority in every nation’s foreign policy and domestic agenda, and we need to work together to advance cooperation on shared waters,» Clinton told participants of a High Level Roundtable on Water, Peace and Security held at the U.N. headquarters in New York on Tuesday, reported Silk Road Newsline.
Clinton also cited the findings in a recently released report on water prepared by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI). Titled «Global Water Security: Intelligence Community Assessment,» the report is based on the classified National Intelligence Estimate on global water issues prepared jointly by the U.S. Intelligence Community, a coalition of 17 federal agencies including CIA, Defense Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency, FBI and other organizations that work to gather the intelligence necessary to conduct foreign relations and national security activities.
According to the ODNI report, problems with water resources could lead to «increased regional tensions over water» in the Amu Darya River basin in Central Asia in the next 30 years.
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Due to water-related problems, the Amu Darya River basin is also facing the threats of «degraded regional food security» and «decreased health of populations around dried Aral Sea,» says the report that includes the intelligence projections from now until 2040.
«You’ve already heard about our Intelligence Community Assessment on Global Water Security, and I hope that you will have if you didn’t today have a chance to really study it, because water scarcity could have profound implications for security,» Clinton told the high-level panel. «The report found that dwindling supplies and poor management of water resources will certainly affect millions of people as food and crops grow scarcer and access to water more difficult to obtain. In fact, in some places, the water tables are already more depleted than we thought and wells are drying up. In other parts of the world, water resources could become a real source of manipulation and increasing instability. And we want to get ahead of what those potential problems might be. We can’t wait until we already have a crisis.»
Clinton encouraged countries to work together to strengthen institutions that support cooperation.
«Here at the UN, we have to work in our continuing efforts to ensure no child dies of a water-related disease and certainly no war is ever fought over water,» she stressed.
Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights Maria Otero moderated the discussion that was attended by senior officials from over 50 governments.
Otero reminded the panel that Clinton «helped launch the U.S. Water Partnership this past World Water Day which really brings together the great expertise the United States has to be able to make it available to the rest of the world.»
According to the U.S. Department of State, the new public-private partnership has 28 partners coming from U.S. government, American business, humanitarian organizations and universities including U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department of Energy, NASA, U.S. Export-Import Bank, Overseas Private Investment Corporation, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Geological Survey, Rockefeller Foundation, Ford Motor Company, the Coca-Cola Company, Procter & Gamble and others.
«In fact, the members of this partnership have now pledged more that 600 million dollars for water related activities in this effort,» Otero said.