The Declaration of Human Rights, supported by Argentina in its first year of creation, 1948, supports and affirms many fundamental human rights. The ensuing seventy-one years have seen many successful efforts to improve the human condition, but the Republic of Argentina recognizes that there is still much left to do, particularly with regards to water access, which was not explicitly stated as a right in the original Declaration. As recently as 2016, 780 million people worldwide lacked access to improved water, and another 2.5 billion lacked access to improved sanitation. With the effects of climate change weighing on our planet heavier than ever, the time to take action on this critical human need is now.
In the Republic of Argentina, the right to clean water is protected in Article 41 of our nation’s constitution under the Right to a Healthy Environment. In spite of this acknowledgement, water access still remains an issue for some Argentinans. Argentina water supplies suffer from, among other things, water waste and chemical pollution. Water inequities also continue to disproportionately affect the poorest in our nation.
Climate change has and will continue to have a critical role in the water access dialogue. On the continent of South America, the melting of tropical glaciers as temperatures increase will have major effects on water access, as glaciers are a major source of drinking water and feed streams and rivers. An already warm continent, increased drought and drought severity as a result of climate change heightens the water access conversation’s significance to South America. Climate change-proofing continental and global agriculture and drinking sources is a time sensitive prerogative.
Any solutions reached in committee must be thorough and achievable. On a global level, an emphasis on cooperation between governments, the UN, World Bank, and NGOs must take center stage. Worldwide issues require international coordination. Within developing nations, education on water conservation and efficient farming methods can be an important tool for human development and curbing water mismanagement, and media water conservation campaigns should also be considered as possible solutions in the fight against water waste.
Argentina looks forward to partaking in open dialogue with all countries in tackling this global initiative – water access.
- Elizabeth Vredevelt