Experts call for financing to ensure universal access to clean drinking water

New York, Mar 22 (EFE).- Insufficient financing is obstructing the United Nations’ sustainability goal of achieving universal access to clean drinking water and sanitation by 2030, experts warned on Wednesday at a forum in New York that took place alongside the UN Water Conference.

“Unless we significantly accelerate progress, approximately 829,000 people will die worldwide in seven years due to contaminated water, inadequate sanitation, or poor hygiene practices,” said Estanislao Arana, Academic Director of the Water Economy Forum and Law Professor at the University of Granada.

Arana was among four panelists who discussed financing for this sustainability goal at the New York forum, which coincided with World Water Day and ran parallel to the United Nations Water Conference.

He emphasized the need for collaboration, urging governments to allocate funding “so that the financial system has the necessary incentives to invest and for the end users who must contribute to the financing.”

To address current economic constraints, Kim Osborne, Executive Secretary for Integral Development at the Organization of American States, suggested adopting innovative measures. Osborne noted that strategic partnerships have helped modernize water financing in the Americas.

Daniel Shemie from the NGO The Nature Conservancy argued that investing in existing natural solutions, such as protecting the Atlantic forests, is as crucial as funding new infrastructure.

This approach would enhance groundwater storage for use during dry seasons and potentially reduce drought costs by 80%. Solutions are needed to not only address the investment gap but also the highly variable climate of the future, he said.

Highlighting the importance of private sector involvement, Rafael Ramos, Director of Engineering and Supply Chain at Coca-Cola FEMSA, explained that his company has been implementing circular economy solutions for years.

“We have recognized the significance of the financial resources required and decided to issue a $700 million green bond in 2020 – the first by a company in Latin America,” he said.

The majority of the funds were allocated to circular economy initiatives, sustainable mobility, and water conservation processes. “The technology exists,” said Ramos, explaining that water is reused for cleaning and sanitizing factories. “In 2021, we issued another bond tied to sustainability, committing to reduce our water consumption rates per liter produced by 2026.”

Arana welcomed all contributions, stating, “No one is left out in the water; we are all called to contribute.” EFE


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