Pakistan in ‘critically water insecure’ category: UN report
The UN University on Thursday released the Global Water Security 2023 Assessment, which stated that 33 countries from three different geographic regions have high levels of water security. Nevertheless, all regions also featured countries with low levels of water security.
In a press release announcing the report, it was stated that the most recent assessment of the world's water resources, conducted by United Nations water experts, revealed that access to managed drinking water and sanitation was "still a pipe dream for more than half of the global population, as more than 70 per cent, or 5.5 billion people, do not have safe water access, with Africa having the lowest levels of access, at only 15 per cent of the region's population."
The press release said, "Three out of four people currently live in water-insecure countries. More people die from a lack of safe drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services than water-related disasters."
According to a Pakistan-based English daily, the experts found that the majority of the world's population presently lived in water-insecure countries such as the Solomon Islands, Eritrea, Sudan, Ethiopia, Vanuatu, Afghanistan, Djibouti, Haiti, Papua New Guinea, Somalia, Liberia, St Kitts and Nevis, Libya, Madagascar, South Sudan, Micronesia, Niger, Sierra Leone, Yemen, Chad, Comoros, and Sri Lanka.
The press release reads, "This is a cause for major concern because water security is fundamental to development."
Along with other European countries like Denmark, Luxembourg, Austria, Norway, Switzerland, Finland and Iceland, Ireland, France, Lithuania, Greece, Germany, the UK, Estonia, Italy, Latvia, Spain, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia, Czechia, Hungary, and Portugal, the report ranked Sweden as the country with the highest level of water security.
It was noted that the only countries to qualify for the water-secure category in the Americas were Canada and the United States, whereas the water-secure countries in the Asia Pacific region included New Zealand, Cyprus, Australia, Japan, Israel, Kuwait, and Malaysia, according to Dawn.
The report's findings revealed that "abundant natural water availability did not necessarily ensure water security," according to the news release.
The press release added, "Many countries in Africa, the Asia-Pacific and the Americas with abundant freshwater resources has high rates of WASH-attributed low economic value despite potentially high economic losses due to floods or droughts."
The global assessment, which was conducted halfway through the Water Action Decade (2018-2028) and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, provided a "multidimensional comparison" of the state of water security affecting 7.8 billion people across 186 countries, according to the report's additional findings.
The press release stated, "The report provides some very alarming statistics, arguing that the world is far from achieving 'clean water and sanitation for all' known as sustainable development goal (SDG) number six."
According to the statement, the UN report examined water security in 10 areas to give a more "realistic understanding of the water security status around the world": drinking water, sanitation, good health, water quality, water availability, water value, water governance, human safety, economic safety, and the stability of water resources.
According to the press release, "The results were worrying: 78 per cent of the world's population (6.1 billion people) currently reside in nations with water scarcities."
According to the report, the lack of clean WASH services in Africa contributed to the region's poor water security. In 54 African countries, including 33 of the least developed and six Small Island Developing States (SIDS), it was said that about 31 per cent (over 411 million) of the population lacked access to a basic water supply.
The press release adds, "Only 15 per cent of people have access to safely managed drinking water. In the case of sanitation services, 82 per cent still live without access to a safely managed sanitation service."
Subsequently, it said that more people died from a lack of safe WASH services globally than those who died in water-related disasters. "And, alarmingly, this situation is not improving: 2019 saw increased rates of WASH-attributed mortality in 164 countries compared to previous 2016 WHO estimates."
The press release also mentions the comprehensive and precise water quality assessment at the national level remained a hurdle.
The press release also noted, "The level of domestic wastewater treatment, assessed by WHO using household sanitation statistics, remains very poor (below 30pc) in Africa and large parts of the Asia-Pacific, and poor (below 50 per cent) in most South American countries, though there are exceptions in all regions," Dawn reported.