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Schlettwein Calls for Global Action on Looming Water Crisis at World Water Forum

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Namibia’s Minister of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform, Calle Schlettwein, painted a stark picture at the World Water Forum in Bali this week, highlighting the devastating drought currently gripping the nation – the worst in a century.  Schlettwein warned that this is just a taste of things to come, with climate change threatening to make water scarcity a recurring nightmare.

The Minister outlined the dire consequences of this crisis, pointing to the crippling impact on food security, health, hygiene, and ultimately, Namibia’s prosperity.  He stressed that this is not a uniquely Namibian problem, but one faced by developing and middle-income nations across the globe.

Schlettwein emphasised the urgent need for a significant shift in global priorities.  “Enough with the burdening debt,” he declared.  “It’s time for a new approach – one that prioritizes sustainable solutions, collaboration over conflict, and shared prosperity over widening wealth disparities.”

The Minister echoed a sentiment gaining traction around the world – the need for a water revolution akin to the ongoing energy transition.  He championed innovation and technology as the key to unlocking this transformation, citing advancements in desalination, irrigation efficiency, water reclamation, and wastewater management as just a few examples.

Schlettwein went on to highlight the critical role of transboundary cooperation, particularly for nations like Namibia that rely heavily on shared water resources.  “Water is life,” he asserted, “and access to it is a fundamental human right.”  He called for strengthened collaboration between basin states to ensure the peaceful and equitable management of these vital resources, emphasising this as a cornerstone for regional integration and prosperity across Africa.

With a powerful closing statement, Schlettwein implored the global community to act with urgency.  “The future of our children, and all generations to come,” he declared, “hinges on how we address this crisis today.  We must bridge the funding gap and work together to secure a water-secure tomorrow.”  Schlettwein’s impassioned plea served as a potent reminder that water scarcity is not a distant threat, but a very real challenge demanding immediate global action.