Water is critical to life, yet billions of people worldwide lack access to it. Gilbert Houngbo, Chair of UN-Water, sheds light on this critical issue on GZERO World. Houngbo attributes the water crisis to both “lack of resources and bad governance,” and stresses the need for investment in water-related infrastructure to help solve the problem.
“We as a global society have taken water for granted,” Houngbo says, “Water must become everyone’s business.” Agriculture alone accounts for up to 75% of global fresh water use, so investing in technology to reduce waste and also plan for climate change is key. Houngbo also highlights the importance of developing metrics to measure progress in addressing water scarcity, particularly in rural areas, and cautions against private companies leaving the most vulnerable populations behind.
Despite the challenges, Houngbo remains optimistic that society can meet the global water challenge through policies that ensure access to basic water services, encourage water reuse, and minimize pollution risks.
Up to four billion people—half the world’s population—experience at least a month of severe water scarcity each year. The international community must come together to protect the earth’s most precious resource for future generations, Houngbo tells Ian Bremmer.