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Political will is key in solving global water problems

Writer: Time:2015-07-15

“The battle against global water problems arising from climate change should not be waged using technological solutions alone. Sound management and long-term funding are at least just as important.” This was the main message of Dutch Minister of Infrastructure and the Environment, Ms. Schultz van Haegen, during the OECD Ministerial Council Meeting (MCM) held in Paris last week. 

Countries must create an enabling environment. The solution is political. Sustainable solutions demand that politicians be courageous enough to look beyond their term in office in the interests of our economies and societies. It requires credible and responsible management upon which investors can build, with transparent accountability and clear cost-benefit analyses. Only in this way can we attract investment in preventive measures, instead of repeatedly reacting to disasters," according to Ms. Schultz van Haegen. 
In Paris, Minister Schultz outlined the serious consequences of climate change. The sea level is rising and weather is becoming more extreme. At the same time, the population is rising, urbanisation is moving at a fast pace and economies are growing. "Water-related disasters are not only occurring more often, we also have increasingly more to lose. If we do nothing, the losses incurred due to drought, floods and poor sanitation will be immense. According to the University of Oxford, doing nothing will end up costing 500 billion dollars a year." Investing in preventive measures is cheaper, especially riding on the back of investments in infrastructure that have to be made in any case.  
IGRAC and the Dutch Government
The Dutch government has played a crucial role in the establishment of IGRAC and has supported the Centre ever since. In 1999, UNESCO and WMO took an initiative to form an international groundwater centre. With the support of the Government of the Netherlands, this initiative led to the launch of IGRAC in 2003. In January 2011 the Government of the Netherlands confirmed its commitment to IGRAC and signed an agreement with UNESCO establishing IGRAC as UNESCO category II centre.