Without improved management of rainwater, the future development goals currently being discussed are unrealistic, say leading scientists at World Water Week.
Scientists and experts joining the 2014 World Water Week in Stockholm are deeply concerned that sustainable management of rainwater in dry and vulnerable regions is missing in the goals and targets proposed by the UN Open Working Group (OWG) on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on poverty, hunger and freshwater.
Some of the world’s leading water, environment and resilience scientists and experts have published a call to the United Nations (UN), saying that rain, and the way it is managed, is what will determine whether hunger and poverty can be eradicated in the world.
Unpredictable rainfall a problem
More than two billion people live in some of the driest and poorest areas of the world, also home to the fastest growing populations. These regions depend on highly variable, unreliable and unpredictable rainfall.
When it rains, it pours, making agriculture extremely challenging. However, over time these areas do receive enough rain, and with better methods of using the rainwater, food production could be drastically improved.
Add a target on rainwater management
Attempting to eradicate global poverty and hunger without addressing the productivity of rain “is a serious and unacceptable omission.” The SDGs, as currently proposed, “cannot be achieved without a strong focus on sustainable and resilient management of rainfall for resilient food production,” the scientists say.
The signatories call upon the UN to add a target on rainwater management to any Hunger Goal in the Sustainable Development Goals, which are to be agreed on in 2015.
The signatories of the declaration are:
- Malin Falkenmark, Stockholm International Water Institute, Stockholm Resilience Centre
- Johan Rockström, Stockholm Resilience Centre
- Torgny Holmgren, Stockholm International Water Institute
- Mohamed Ait Kadi, Global Water Partnership
- Tony Allan, King’s College, Stockholm Water Prize Laureate 2008
- Naty Barak, Netafim, Stockholm Industry Water Award winner 2013
- Jeremy Bird, International Water Management Institute
- Fred Boltz, Rockefeller Foundation
- Peter Gleick, Pacific Institute
- David Grey, University of Oxford
- Jerson Kelman, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro
- Roberto Lenton, University of Nebraska
- Julia Marton-Lefévre, International Union for Conservation of Nature
Source: Infrastructure news