Press Releases

SG/SM/8435
OBV/298
15 October 2002

NEW, INNOVATIVE APPROACHES NEEDED IN WATER
DEVELOPMENT, MANAGEMENT, SECRETARY-GENERAL
SAYS ON MESSAGE FOR WORLD FOOD DAY

NEW YORK, 14 October (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the message by Secretary-General Kofi Annan for World Food Day, 16 October:

The theme of this year's World Food Day, "Water: source of food security", recognizes water as one of the most pressing development issues of our time. Coming soon after the World Summit on Sustainable Development, this Day is an occasion to highlight the role of water resources in sustainable food production. Addressing that issue is vital if we are to meet the needs of present and future generations.

Today, agriculture uses 70 per cent of the world’s freshwater resources. We must develop new and innovative approaches in water development and management if we are to feed the more than 800 million hungry people in the world, and ensure safe drinking water for more than 1.1 billion people who have currently no access to it.

If we are to prevent two-thirds of the world's population from facing serious water shortages in the decades ahead, we must learn to manage our water resources more efficiently, particularly in agriculture -- more "crop per drop" -- and develop more effective capacities for the regional management of watersheds, especially where they are crucial to more than one country.

That is why the United Nations General Assembly has proclaimed 2003 the International Year of Freshwater. And next March, the Third World Water Forum will be held in Kyoto, Japan, to tackle the issues of water resources development and management.

At the World Food Summit in Rome last June, world leaders renewed the commitment they made five years earlier to cut by half the number of hungry people in the world by 2015. There is no time to lose if we are to reach this target -- which is also one of the Millennium Development Goals agreed by world leaders in September 2000.

On this World Food Day, let us resolve to keep this promise. Let us rededicate ourselves to using water wisely and responsibly, for the sake of our children and grandchildren.

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