|Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright
Remarks in the October/November issue of "Civilization" magazine
November 8, 2000, Washington, D.C.
As released by the Office of the Spokesman
U.S. Department of State
"The Face of the Waters"
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: I have seen at first hand the strains created by the lack of water security in arid regions of the Middle East and Africa, windswept highlands in Central Asia, and crowded cities in South Asia and China. Today, around the world, more than two billion people live in countries experiencing some degree of water stress, and more than one billion lack access to safe drinking water.
Managing water is both a technical and a diplomatic challenge. New technologies and analytical tools can help us reduce waste, mitigate pollution, and allocate water more efficiently. But to be effective, management must be done on a basin-wide or watershed basis. This requires countries that share resources to cooperate in using them wisely. That, in return, requires effective diplomacy.
Last April, on Earth Day, I unveiled an initiative called "An Alliance for Global Water Security in the 21st Century." My purpose was to heighten awareness and enlist support for a strategy aimed at improving management of the world's water resources:
A global strategy for water security will take many years to implement and the support of citizens on every continent to succeed. But few tasks are more important than ensuring an adequate supply of clean water. The United States is deeply committed to this goal and is prepared to work closely with others both in and outside government to achieve it. The well-being of our planet and the health of generations to come depends on our success.
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