Sunday, April 14, 2024

The availability of water plays a crucial role in promoting peace and stability among African communities and even nations

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With the theme “Water for Peace,” today we celebrate “World Water Day”. Water is fundamental to sustainable development because it sustains thriving ecosystems, fosters socioeconomic development, produces food and energy, and ensures human survival. Water is essential for adjusting to climate change because it serves as a conduit between the environment and society. Plants, animals, and humans would not survive without water. Since water is the essential component that supports life on Earth, it is critical to understand why water is essential for maintaining harmony among all living things. 

Conflicts and tensions over limited water supplies can be avoided by providing access to sanitary facilities and clean water. Countries can lower the likelihood of conflicts and foster cooperation amongst neighbouring communities or nations by guaranteeing the equal distribution and sustainable management of water. A scarcity or inadequate availability of water has given rise to conflicts in Kenya. Attacks on women and children have occurred in insecure situations when they were traveling to remote areas to search for water. Communities that rely on animal husbandry, which would be impossible without water for the animals to drink, benefit from the availability of water since it facilitates communal coexistence. 

Read also: Why water & sanitation systems are vital for the economy

Adequate access to water resources supports economic development and prosperity, particularly in regions where agriculture is a primary livelihood. Stable access to water for irrigation, industry, and household use fosters economic growth, reduces poverty, and creates opportunities for employment and trade, contributing to peaceful coexistence. Many African countries rely on agriculture for sustenance. And agriculture depends on the availability of enough water to survive on. Without water there would be no development rendering many African countries and communities unable to survive. 

A 2023 World Bank research estimates that 2 billion people lack access to safely managed drinking water systems globally. 771 million of them are unable to obtain even the most basic services related to drinking water. The Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) number six reads, “Water and sanitation should be available and managed sustainably for all people.” Reaching these objectives will contribute to the advancement of numerous other SDGs, such as those concerning the environment, economics, health, and education. The objectives cover every aspect of sanitation systems and the water cycle. 

Reliable access to clean water and sanitation facilities is essential for public health and disease prevention. Improved sanitation and hygiene practices reduce the spread of waterborne diseases, enhancing community well-being and reducing healthcare burdens. Better health outcomes contribute to social stability and harmony within communities and regions. Sustainable management of water resources promotes environmental conservation and resilience to climate change. Protecting watersheds, wetlands, and ecosystems ensures the long-term availability of water and supports biodiversity conservation. By safeguarding natural resources, countries can enhance environmental security and reduce the risk of conflicts over water scarcity or pollution. 

Equitable access to water resources can aid in the reduction of disparities by addressing the underlying causes of conflict or marginalization and promoting social justice and inclusion. Ensuring universal access to clean water, regardless of gender, race, or economic status, promotes social cohesion and strengthens a community’s resilience against potential causes of discord. To manage water resources, nations that share transboundary water sources usually need to cooperate diplomatically and beyond national boundaries. Through facilitating dialogue and negotiation, treaties, international partnerships, and joint management agreements all aid in the settlement of disputes and the advancement of amicable relations and mutual understanding between states. 

Water accessibility has a critical role in maintaining global peace and stability through conflict avoidance, economic growth, public health protection, environmental sustainability, social justice, and diplomatic collaboration. Building resilient and peaceful societies in the face of global problems requires investments in water infrastructure, management, and governance. 

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