Committee: United Nations Environmental Programme
Topic: Access To Water
Delegate: Allyson Suandi
School: Williamston High School
By 2030, The United Nations is hoping to meet it’s Sustainable Development Goals. In particular, the United Nations Environmental Programme is working towards many of these, including Sustainable Development Goal 6 which calls for access to water and sanitation which is a basic human right. In order to meet Sustainable Development Goal 6 and other sustainable development goals regarding water, there is still much that the United Nations Environmental Programme needs to do as an international body to create cooperation among member states to allow for there to be access to water to be available globally. Improved management of water can be implemented in a variety of ways, such as through the reduction of water pollution and greener infrastructure and development alongside bodies of water, especially with proper waste management. There also needs to be a more efficient water delivery system for developing nations that do not have a direct source of access to clean water, as many children and women are forced to give up their right to education and have to walk long treks to find water that also affects their health. There are also financial discrepancies in developing nations that affect a person’s access to water. Those who are not as well off have a much harder time finding water, as they may not have the means to afford water systems that are closer to them.
Afghanistan is struggling to get its people access to water, with only 27% of the nation that has access to clean drinking water and only 37% have access to sanitation facilities. 1.5 million people have been displaced due to droughts because of climate change with 22 out of 34 of Afghanistan’s provinces experiencing droughts in 2018. Afghanistan’s water crisis is mainly due to being a war torn nation for the last couple decades with the Taliban in place which caused water mismanagement throughout the country, despite there being readily available bodies of water surrounding Afghanistan. There has been a lot that the United Nations and Afghanistan have worked on together to help solve this crisis. For example, with the help of UNICEF and USAID, Afghanistan has started to implement solar powered water pumps and gravity-fed water systems that have been less costly and more reliable sources compared to regular hand pumps. There has also been the creation of separate bathrooms for genders within educational systems and improved access to water. Afghanistan has also turned towards small private enterprises to help maintain and manage water services and systems. In clinics and hospitals, Afghanistan has started to implement a hygiene behavioral change program. There also has been great education among communities about hygiene and how to maintain good hygiene habits that has also greatly helped the nation.
There needs to be cooperation between nations with transboundary bodies of water in terms of adequate management and sanitation which shall be an agreement overseen by GreenPeace. Nations should work together to maintain the condition of the body of the water as well as proper management of waste management and ensuring that proper sanitation standards are method. Afghanistan would like to create an agreement between nations that can sign on to that makes them promise to uphold proper management of the area that their nation borders the body of water. Larger developed nations should also work towards providing financial means and deliver water to nations who are in water crisis temporarily and should also invest in research being done to create feasible water treatment systems for developing nations. Larger nations who are surrounded by bodies of water that are financially well off should especially ensure that they are not polluting their systems of water with their infrastructure and development. Afghanistan also believes that countries should begin to adopt similar policies to Afghanistan such as switching from regular hand pumps to cheaper and more environmentally conscious solar hand pumps. Afghanistan would also like to see a spread of awareness among nations about how to maintain good hygiene among communities. The body should also consider working with NGOs such as Doctors Without Borders and the World Health Organization to provide clinics for adequate treatment of diseases caused by poor water quality.
- Allyson Suandi