Water related disasters are increasing worldwide. From extreme floods to severe droughts most of us have some experience.
Even if we have not personally experienced them, we have usually seen or heard about water shortages, food scarcity and climate related disasters and know that they are real dilemmas that many people are facing right now.
“Climate change, environmental degradation, population increase, rapid urbanization and industrialization and increasing poverty make societies more vulnerable to disasters.”
In these present times there seem to be too many new environmental and social crises occurring for us to be able to properly address any one of them.
We succeed in partially addressing one and a new one rapidly arises. These indicate that a fundamental change of attitude is needed. It seems that a major part of this negative feedback loop is the way in which, we consider the environmental systems of Earth. All too often we divide interdependent natural systems up into different categories (e.g. food, water, forest, mountains, wetlands, wildlife, climate etc.) and we relate to them as if they are separate or only distantly related. We often treat an issue such as water security as if we could address it simply by devising better ways of managing, harvesting, cleaning and storing freshwater and reducing waste. However, for freshwater to be available, it is dependent upon many different ecological factors, which impact upon and regulate one another.
Because subjects such as water, food, climate and forests are often limited to the confines of different categories, it is very hard to get cohesive correlation between specialist information in each area.
This makes it much harder and more complicated to really address a situation and really get to the root of the problem. Many present global problems would be far easier to address if the rigid divisions between different categories were broadened to include recognition of the nexus and interdependent ecological dynamics that truly exist. This way we would be able to plan sustainable development strategies much more effectively through supporting interconnected ecosystems in performing their natural functions and benefiting from the wide range of life supporting services that they provide.
It is time we work with nature to address the common obstacles facing all life on Earth. Through working together and adopting natural solutions, many of the environmental dilemmas that humanity is presently facing, could be effectively resolved. In the case of long-term reliable water management and disaster mitigation, acknowledgement of the essential role of mixed forests and biodiversity and ways of protecting and restoring it is imperative.
The natural world has adapted in so many astounding ways throughout millions of years to address on going obstacles and succeeded against so many almost insurmountable odds. Now we need to help it
In September 2015 the new Sustainable Development paper called ‘Transforming our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’ was endorsed by world governments. Within it Goal 6 states: “Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.” It was recognised in Target 6.6 of Goal 6 that protecting and restoring water related ecosystems would be necessary for realising this Goal.
“By 2020, protect and restore water-related ecosystems, including mountains, forests, wetlands, rivers, aquifers and lakes” Download: UN, Transforming our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,2015.pdf
Recognising that achieving fresh water security is central to national and international security, it should therefore be included as a crucial element within any long-term global defence strategies. This needs to include protecting and restoring the ecosystems, which are essential for rebalancing and maintaining the entire global water cycle.
Therefore at least 1% of the annual defence budget of all countries within the U.N should be allocated for achieving Target 6.6
We have recently created a document offering guidelines for integrating the Sustainable Development Goals. It is highly illustrated and looks into some very pertinent subjects concerning achieving sustainable development.