After Istanbul: Bridges Built and Burned Over Scarce Water

The United Arab Emirates might be rolling in oil and natural gas, but it could bring grist to its mill from water-scarce Australia. As the 5th World Water Forum and World Water Day wound up earlier this month, stakeholders called for more cooperation among sectors and countries in the face of a growing global water crisis.

While a European report presented at the forum in Istanbul urged more cooperation to avoid conflict over increasingly scarce water, World Water Day emphasized transboundary water management. The Istanbul Ministerial Statement vowed to develop “cross-cutting coordination and policies” that transcend national borders. UN expert Maude Barlow warned about increased international trade in water, as reflected in the concepts of “virtual water” and “water footprint.”

But the fight against water scarcity can also benefit from more frequent exchange of experience on an international scale, says Michael Spencer, director of Australia’s Water Stewardship Initiative.

“Water-scarce Australia must tap other nations’ ideas,” Spencer wrote in an article for The Age, saying that Australia could offer advice to the United Arab Emirates, whose rapid economic development has now steeped the federation in a water crisis. “There will be plenty we can learn from other water-stressed areas of the world, but also plenty of our innovations we can market to the world — if we are there.”

Read more here, here and here.

Sources: The Age, EurActiv Network, Council of European Municipalities and Regions

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