9 Jun 2014

The UN's new laundry list for water and development

This all-things-for-all-people set of "targets" is unintentionally funny:
Proposed goals and targets on Sustainable Development for the Post2015 agenda now available


The priority target has been suggested as the eradication of poverty, the biggest global challenge facing the world today.[1] The draft contains 17 proposed goals to be attained by 2030, including secure water and sanitation for all for a sustainable world. This goal focuses on the provision of universal access to safe and affordable drinking water and sanitation [2]; improved water quality through reduced pollution; improved water efficiency in all sectors [3]; integrated water resource management, including transboundary cooperation; sustainable extraction of freshwater supplies; reducing the mortality and economic losses caused by natural and human-induced disasters and the provision of adequate facilities and infrastructure in supplying safe drinking water and sanitation.

The new goals reflect a flexible global vision [4], recognising that each country faces specific challenges to achieve sustainable development, and underscoring the special challenges facing the most vulnerable countries, in particular, African countries, least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing States, as well as the specific challenges facing the middle-income countries [5].
Just a few reactions:
  1. Since forever
  2. You can have safe OR affordable, but not both, unless "affordable" means "cost of safe" instead of "cheap"
  3. How do you know it's efficient? less use doesn't mean more efficient
  4. Like a global local vision?
  5. What about corrupt countries?
Bottom Line: The UN's top-down perspective (and endless newsletters) should not replace bottom up empowerment that allows local people to repair the problems they face. Good governance (low corruption) is sufficient to pursue this path; outside money is helpful but not necessary.

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