Stimulating a collective response to global water challenges
Gathered in the Indian capital, leaders of the world’s largest economies reinforced the vision for enhancing global cooperation and sharing of best practices on water.
Driven by a shared vision, they acknowledged the importance of addressing one of the most pressing challenges of our time — the urgent need for the conservation, protection, sustainable use, and restoration of our ecosystems, particularly water. The 2023 G20 Leaders’ Declaration recognizes the pivotal role of water in our collective pursuit of a more sustainable and resilient future.
This is exactly what Saudi Arabia has been calling for ever since it held the presidency of the G20 in 2020 and now recently with the newly announced Global Water Organization.
In 2020, Saudi Arabia adopted water as a critical topic for its presidency. Why? Because water is intrinsically linked to life, and thus is relevant to all sustainable development initiatives. The first Water Dialogue was held in Saudi Arabia in 2020 and has been organized annually since then. Thanks to the Kingdom’s leadership, water is now a central theme of the G20 agenda. And with the establishment of the Global Water Organization, tackling water issues will now be a priority on the international agenda.
In a world facing growing challenges, we must recognize that water scarcity is not a distant threat but a stark reality for millions. Communities are already grappling with the profound consequences of insufficient access to clean water, from compromised health and sanitation to economic instability. The crises of tomorrow will be water crises if we do not take swift and decisive action today.
It is heartening to see the commitment of the G20 toward a more sustainable world. This ambitious direction, when backed by enhanced global cooperation and sharing of best practices on water, underscores our collective determination to safeguard this precious resource. The initiatives launched at the UN 2023 Water Conference and the G20 Dialogue on Water, initiated by Saudi Arabia, are vital steps in the right direction.
However, we must do more. And this is where the Global Water Organization stands ready. All will benefit by strengthening cooperation between countries and stimulating a collective response to water challenges.
The Kingdom’s vision is that the organization will foster collaboration and synergies. Riyadh acknowledges the varying nature of water resource challenges across regions and developmental stages. We adopt context-specific strategies that prioritize tailored solutions for each nation's unique challenges.
By leveraging international cooperation, we aspire, through the Global Water Organization, to assist developing countries in achieving effective water resource management. Our objective is to ensure that every country progresses toward sustainable global water resources, leaving no one behind in this critical journey.
The 2023 G20 Leaders’ Declaration has set the world on a promising path of global cooperation and shared responsibility. Let us seize this moment to inspire meaningful change, for in protecting our water, we protect our planet and the generations yet to come. The world can no longer afford the luxury of waiting. The time for action is now.
• Dr. Fahad Abu-Mouti is deputy minister of regulatory affairs at Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Environment, Water, and Agriculture.