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High-Level Roundtable on Water, Peace and Security Calls for Addressing Water Scarcity

25 September 2012: A High-level Roundtable on Water, Peace and Security organized by UN-Water focused on water security, emphasizing the importance of water for human development, food and energy security. Speakers called for ratification of the UN Convention on the Non-navigational Uses of International Watercourses (UN Watercourses Convention).

During the roundtable, which was held on 25 September 2012 in New York, US, on the margins of the 67th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA), Catherine Ashton, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, highlighted the commitment of the EU to addressing water supply and sanitation globally. Michel Jarraud, the Chair of UN-Water and Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), said UN-Water has been developing a broader definition of water security, including human development, ecosystem protection, national and regional security, and disaster risk reduction.

Richard Engel, National Intelligence Council, highlighted research on water as a national security issue, which found that: water scarcity contributes to instability but is not a cause of state failure; state-on-state conflict over water is unlikely in the next ten years, but water may be used as a weapon past ten years; depletion of groundwater in agricultural areas threatens national and international food markets; water shortages and pollution decrease the economic capacity of countries; and through 2040, improved water management, proper pricing, virtual water, and investment in water infrastructure is the best solution.

Other speakers included Konrad Osterwalder, Rector, UN University, Mara Marinaki, European External Action Service, EU, and Maria Otero, Under Secretary of State, US. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave closing remarks, calling for cooperation on shared waters and getting ahead of what potential water security problems might be. She asked participants to reflect on how to build better institutions for sharing transboundary waters. [High-Level Roundtable Video] [High-Level Roundtable Concept Note] [High-Level Roundtable Agenda]