UN offers new definition for water security

23 March 2013 - 10:54 By Sapa-dpa
File photo.
File photo.
Image: Gallo Images/Thinkstock

A group of international and United Nations experts proposed a new definition of water security to observe World Water Day, in an attempt to prompt the UN Security Council to put the issue on its agenda.

The call to discuss water issues comes as the perils of climate change grow and the health risks to billions of people living without clean water and sanitation are becoming clear.

According to the new definition, water security should include clean water available in adequate amounts for human consumption and agricultural use, protection against water pollution and water-related catastrophes and managing the ecosystem as a whole.

"In the past few decades, definitions of security have moved beyond a limited focus on military risks and conflicts," Michel Jarraud, chair of UN-Water, said in a statement.

"Water fits within this broader definition of security - embracing political, health, economic, personal, food, energy, environmental and other concerns - and acts as a central link between them."

In 2011, the Security Council recognized climate change as a security issue, which the authors of the new water security definition hope will lead to a similar recognition of water as an issue having a direct impact on human security.