Currently, 1.1 billion people do not have access to drinking water and the figure could reach 3 billion in less than twenty years, even though water makes up 71% of the surface of the globe.
This is the result of a range of factors such as population growth, poor management of resources and also climate change, which compounds the problem, especially in the Mediterranean Basin, forcing people to move to places where water is accessible and, in the long term, creating tension between countries which share the same resources.
Moreover, the problems resulting from the sharing and use of water for the purposes of irrigation, tourism and ordinary consumption are set to become increasingly acute.
As a result, the Mediterranean Basin is likely to be one of the regions of the world most seriously affected by climate change and it is therefore particularly necessary to promote water management policies there.
At the Warsaw Summit in 2005, the heads of state and government expressed their commitment to achieving the environmental Millennium Development Goals, in particular, everyone’s entitlement to live in a balanced, healthy environment, and to supporting integrated environmental policies in a “sustainable development perspective”.
In this connection, the human right to water is essential and access to water must therefore be recognised as a universal human right.
With a view to the World Expo to be held in Saragossa (Spain) from June to September 2008 on the theme of water and sustainable development and the 5th World Water Forum due to be held in March 2009, the Assembly has a duty to play an active part in fostering commitment here by parliamentarians and local and regional authorities in the member states and encouraging non-member states in the Mediterranean Basin to take measures aimed at a joint, integrated approach to water management.