Article courtesy of Md Ashik Sarder | March 19, 2015 | The Finanical Express | Shared as educational material
In the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in 2012 (Rio+20), water has been recognised as the key to achieving sustainable development as it is closely linked to all other important issues. ‘Sustainable development’ emphasises acquiring sustainability in any initiative that utilises natural resources. For sustainable development, the vital issues involved are: poverty alleviation, food security, gender equality, social inclusion, planned industrialisation, health coverage for all, climate-resilience, affluent rural economy, environment-friendly fuel to protect ecosystem, water governance and proper management of water and other natural resources.
Development practitioners have agreed upon the issue that water is the most influential factor to achieve the goals. Though the United Nations recognises access to safe water as one of the basic human rights, millions of people in the world are deprived of safe drinking water, resulting in deaths affected by fatal diseases. Water is not only pivotal to save life but has also a dynamic role to foster the development of the globe. Having perceived this point of view in 1993, the United Nations General Assembly designated 22 March as the World Water Day. In 2015, the theme for World Water Day is ‘Water and Sustainable Development’. This year, the UN focuses the linkage of water with health, nature, urbanisation, industry, energy, food and equality.
Water has a reflective influence on human health and a minimum amount of water is required for human body on a daily basis for survival and therefore access to water; especially safe water is essential for life. Water is also related to sanitation, personal hygiene and preventing various types of diseases.
A total 748 million of people in the world do not have access to safe drinking water and improved sanitation. But it is not possible to achieve the goals of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) without ensuring improved sanitation and safe drinking water for the people of the globe. For this, it is necessary to invest in Water as this investment will have substantial economic gains.
The ecosystem provides people with food, goods, medicines and many other products and also plays a vital role in nutrient cycling, water purification and climate moderation. Bangladesh is disaster-prone and one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to climate change. It is predicted that Bangladesh is going to lose a significant portion of its GDP due to climate change. So, it is essential to keep the harmony of ecosystem to successfully achieve the goals of sustainable development. For this, adopting new strategies is essential, where water is being considered the most vital factor to make these strategies successful.
The topic of food security gets a global concern as it is one of the most challenging issues for achieving sustainable development. Food security is directly connected with sustainable agriculture and sufficient water supply. The world will have to produce additional 60 per cent food to meet the demand of its population by 2050 which is not possible only by rain-fed agriculture. To avoid this limitation, other sources such surface and groundwater should be utilised properly to meet the extra demand of food. Climate-affected countries like Bangladesh need special emphasis for ensuring sufficient water for agricultural purposes to win the challenge of food security. To ensure this, proper management of water is a must.
So it is perceptible that water is very closely linked with sustainable development and a crucially influential factor. In this regard, social advancement and water governance is essential. Bangladesh as a developing country must identity the relationship between water and sustainable development in order to achieve the goal of SDG for ensuring safe future for future generations.