on-line bioethical journal
ing. Mahmoud Abu-Zeid
prof. Atef Amdy
past Chairman Interim Board of Governors World Water Council
Presidente onorario World Water Day
Iniziative italiane di celebrazione
Signore e signori, ho l’onore ed il piacere di celebrare qui a Napoli con voi la giornata mondiale dell’acqua che si inserisce in un programma molto ambizioso promosso dalla prof.ssa Titty Pignatelli Palladino.
Women & Water (23 Marzo 1995)
prof. Atef Amdy
GIORNATA MONDIALE DELL’ACQUA
Water resources in arid regions from ideas to action: The case of the Mediterranean
Water is a key operant in our life-support systems. Without water, life would not be possible. Neither human kind, nor any eco-system can function without water.
As seen, a water perspective in today’s world is overwhelmed by two fundamental problems: the continuous growing and expanding problems of pollution, on one hand, and the water scarcity, on the other one. Basically, there is nothing of mysterious with either one: both are related to the deep involvement of water in our natural environment, including the life of flora, fauna and humans.
In fact, the two overwhelming problems are both related to water complex functions together with the integrity of the water cycle. These interrelations are reflected in some fundamental casual chains:
Today, there is poor and incomplete awareness among policy makers, politicians as well as general public about their genuine dependence on water cycle, the uniqueness of water and its basic functions in the natural environment and society. It is also worth noting that different groups of societal actors (engineers, ecologists, farmers and researchers) tend to differ also in their basic water perceptions. Thus the water perspectives are often quite limited and accordingly tend to hide the involvement of water in many societal planning issues related to land use. Consequences of such neglect is the arising of aggravating livelihood problems, the Mediterranean region is now facing, leaving the public to take the risks.
The most important task is to find solutions for the existing problems and to prevent problems from arising. However, for such uneasy task to be realized we need to get understood the following:
Today there is an urgent requirement to devise strategies for the sustainable use of water resources in the region. I am of the view that the improved understanding of the scientific, technologies, economic and institutional factors underlying freshwater management and use is essential in this respect.
In the region, many fruitful conferences, one followed by another, meetings, discussions and national, regional and international consultation process concerning water resources were effectively and successfully held.
The overall problems are clear. Equally clear is that the scope of the effort required to address them may well have to go beyond the application of current conventional thinking. We will need to be bold in thinking through what sort of long-term strategies to recommend, in addition to the application of the best current practice today. The relevance of particular issues and proposed solutions are difficult to address each country’s priority issues and needs. Nevertheless, certain general principles and strategies for water policy and water sector development can be provided. Effective water policies are to be formulated and adopted in the Mediterranean countries according to the prevailing conditions in each, combined with the political will and commitment, suitable institutional frameworks, and the capacity to make them work.
The Mediterranean countries are currently experiencing rapid demographic, social, cultural, economic and ecological changes. Where will these changes lead? What will be the future of these countries? What are the actions should they care, individually and collectively to face up their growing difficulties? and what are the guiding principles for the implementation of those actions?