NEW YORK, JUNE 6 – Well aware that water scarcity, together with other megatrends – such as population growth, rapid and chaotic urbanization, food insecurity – can be a multiplier of instability and a driver of migration and conflict, Italy increased its 2016 development aid, doubled this increase in 2017, and will triple it in 2018. “We want to ensure that these resources are directed toward achieving the SDGs and that they have an impact on capacity building, including in the sustainable use of natural resources”, the Hon. Silvia Velo, Italian Deputy Minister for the Environment, told today the UN Security Council.
Speaking during a briefing on preventive diplomacy and transboundary waters organized by the Bolivian presidency, Ms. Velo stressed that transboundary water cooperation is a powerful tool for long term prevention of conflicts. A global multilateral framework for promoting water cooperation and ensuring the protection and preservation of international watercourses is fundamental and we have the tools to achieve it, Velo said, pointing out to the existence of over 400 water agreements already listed in the International Fresh Water Treaties Database: they are the most effective benefits-shared alternative to confrontation
Europe has a long standing experience in this field, the Italian Under-Secretary said making the case of the Central Commission for the Navigation on the Rhine and the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River as two of the very first examples of water-related multilateral frameworks in history. Italy does its part: as a member and host Country of FAO, has actively participated in the establishment of the Global Framework on Water Scarcity, whose goal is to mobilize in a single integrated framework all actors dealing with water scarcity in its social, environmental and economic dimensions, focusing on agriculture and taking into special account the effects of climate change. “Furthermore, within the Global Framework, last April we adopted the Rome Statement on Water Scarcity in Agriculture that underscores, inter alia, the importance of water governance and promotion of integrated watershed approaches.
At the national level, Italy recently implemented a new strategy for basin management with the aim to promote an integrated approach to water management and soil conservation. Through a shared governance, public and private stakeholders join efforts in improving the maintenance of river basins, fostering local development to create economic opportunity and mitigating hydrological risks. This cooperative approach, in a shared legal framework, is key to preventing water related disputes, Velo said. (@OnuItalia)