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Water: a Source of Life, but also a Source of Conflict

Three in ten people -2.1billion- do not have access to safe drinking water and six in ten people -4.5 billion- have no safe sanitation facilities (Re.UN World Water Report 2019 -Fig.2015). The UN report also underlines that if the degradation of our natural environment and the unsustainable pressure on global water resources continue at current rates, 45% of global GDP will be at risk by 2050. In Sub- Saharan Africa only 24% of the population have access to safe drinking water. But it is also important to remind that in Europe and North-America 57 million people do not have running water for their homes. And competition over water often leads to conflicts between countries. To mention just a few: in the Nile bassin between Egypt and Ethiopia. In the Euphrates-Tigris bassin between Turkey, Syria and Irak. And water scarcity partly explains difficult relationship between China, Laos and Cambodia. The competition for water also leads to conflicts within the same country: this is the case in India, between the states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Yet, water has for long been a source of tension and wars. However, violent conflicts related to water supply are constantly increasing. Water and water systems have become targets of the conflicts. It is to be expected that uncontrolled population growth and the effects of climate change will aggravate this major issue for the future of humanity.

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