OSCE Showcases Cooperative Work to Address Water Scarcity

A Security Days event in July explored ways the 57 participating countries can work together to address the problem.

Water scarcity already affects more than 40 percent of the world's population, according to UN-Water, a fact the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) called attention to in July 2014 during a Security Days event that focused on cooperative efforts to address the problem.

The UN-Water infographic explores water security and transboundary cooperation. (UN-Water graphic)Cooperation is vital because transboundary water resources -- freshwater resources that cross national boundaries -- cover about 46 percent of the Earth's land surface, and 40 percent of the world's population lives within their vicinity, according to OSCE, in which 57 countries from Europe, Central Asia, and North America participate. More than 150 river and lake basins are shared by two or more of those countries. Thus, countries have to agree how to share and distribute water resources and how to manage water use and regulate pollution, OSCE pointed out. It shared a UN-Water infographic explaining how effective water management and security must take into account different needs and interests.

OSCE cited the example of Moldova and Ukraine working together to manage the Dniester/Nistru River, which is a key source of drinking water for more than 10 million people and an important source of hydroelectric power. The countries have cooperated on water projects since 2004 with support from OSCE, UN Economic Commission for Europe, and the UN Environment Programme as part of the Environment and Security (ENVSEC) Initiative.

UN-Water's 31 members and 36 international partners have analyzed the role water will play in post-2015 deveopment, and UN-Water then issued technical advice and recommendations for a global goal on water.