Monday, April 15, 2024
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Water and peace are closely linked

By OAS General Secretariat

More than 60 years ago, the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States (OAS), together with its member states, declared that water and peace are closely linked. Accordingly, good water governance is a fundamental aspect of the Organization’s core pillars: democracy, multidimensional security, human rights, and integral development.

To address water as an important contributor to peace, development, and regional integration, the OAS has promoted and implemented more than 170 projects, mobilizing around one billion US dollars to support member states in implementing actions that promote the sustainable and coordinated management of watersheds and their ecosystems.

Water diplomacy has played a key role in contributing to the creation of agreements that form the foundation of transboundary basin organizations – such as the Tri-national Commission, the Guarani Aquifer Agreement, the Intergovernmental Coordinating Committee of the La Plata Basin Countries, and the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization. In collaboration with these and other organizations, the OAS has sought to ensure that water management generates a state of development and social well-being as the foundations for peace in the region.

While efforts have led to transboundary cooperation and peace, global warming presents a new and complex threat, as an estimated 80 percent of the OAS member states are affected by problems caused by water scarcity.

Approximately half of the region’s population lives in areas of “extreme” and “high” climate vulnerability. Consequently, the human rights to water, health and food in the face of the effects of climate change require a water agenda that addresses the water-climate-ecosystems-energy-human rights nexus.

Peace around water requires diplomacy focused on reaching more and better operational agreements in transboundary basins and shared ecosystems. But today more than ever, the commitment of this diplomacy must contribute to countries ensuring a state of social well-being in the face of the climate crisis affecting the Americas and the world. This should lead us to think about innovative and integrated water resources management and governance that is increasingly focused on people and their well-being.

Today we must deploy integrated water resource management and water governance strategies that focus on people and their well-being, while guaranteeing the human right to water and a healthy and clean environment. This is central to peace and development in our hemisphere, in this era of a changing climate., Moreover, ensuring water management with more rights for more people in vulnerable situations – such as women, indigenous peoples, afro-descendants, and people with disabilities – is paramount to ensure cooperation, peace, and well-being in the basins of the Americas.

On this, 2024 World Water Day, we renew our commitment to continue making water an element of cooperation, development, well-being and peace, while promoting more rights for more people.



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