UN seeks media help to avert water crisis

Posted on December 3, 2012

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FUKUOKA, Japan — A top United Nations regional official in Asia and the Pacific has called on both the traditional and the social media to give more focus and space to water-related issues, which have dramatic consequences for humanity.

Chris Radford, acting director of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (UN Habitat), urged media to try to influence policy and cause positive action in communities to address issues such as water security, water crisis, sanitation and flooding.

Radford said there was a logical partnership between UN Habitat and the media in exploring ways to drive communities to action.

“How do we work together so that the community should be much more in partnership with the government?” Radford said at the end of the four-day 7th Asian City Journalists’ Conference (ACJC) and Environmental Technology Experts Group Meeting here.

Radford noted there has been much media emphasis on disaster but less on people and communities that actually survived it and moved on.

The four-day conference brought together UN Habitat country managers and executives, environmental technology experts, journalists, members of non-governmental organizations, governments and the academe to discuss the issues of water and sustainable development.

A number of environmental technologies were introduced—from water conservation technology to water purifying blocks; heat insulating paint, irrigation water wheels and sewage treatment bacteria, to rainwater harvesting, and small scale desalination technologies practiced by local governments and private sector companies.

Also discussed was sustainable urban development planning.

Butuan City Mayor Ferdinand Amante, was among the experts invited from the Philippine government sector.

Other experts were from Sri Lanka, Mongolia, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia and the Pacific islands, who also shared their own experiences in addressing issues related to water and sustainable urban development.

In the Philippines, recurring water-related problems included increasing water bills, supply shortages, leaking pipes, unclean water, and floods. Water pilferage and lack of infrastructure were also identified as threats to water security in the country./INQUIRER

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