Water Cooperation - Key to Social Justice - World Water Day
20 March 2013, Kyiv – More than forty journlists from national and regional media, representatives of UNDP, “Kyivvodokanal” water management enterprise, environmental watchdogs and academia gathered together at the art-cafe“Chasopys” to discuss the water-related challenges and issues on the eve of the World Water Day and International Year of Water Cooperation. The discussions were led by the leading experts in the field, such as Viktoriia Iakovlieva, the Advisor on the Information Policy to the “AK Kyivvodokanal” Chairman, Serhii Afanasiev, Doctor of Biological Sciences of Institute of Hydrobiology of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Anna Tsvetkova, Program Coordinator of the National Environmental NGO MAMA – 86, and Serhii Vykhryst, an expert on international water law, co-author of the International Agreement on Cooperation in the Protection and Sustainable Development of the Dniester River Basin (Ukraine and Moldova) and the International Agreement on Cooperation in the Protection and Sustainable Development of the Dnipro Basin (Ukraine-Belarus-Russia).
Can we drink tap water? Can we swim in Dnipro? What are the main problems of the Dnipro ecology and the quality of downstream water that comes to us from Belarus? Does the public have a real power to address the violation of water legislation in Ukraine? What international best practices could be used Ukraine? These are just a few of issues raised and discussed.
“At the first glance, Ukraine is blessed with abundant freshwater resources, there are 30,000 rivers traversing its territory, the longest of which, such as the Dnipro, Pivdenny Bug and Dnister, span hundreds of kilometres, – Ricarda Rieger, UNDP Resident Representative a.i., said. – According to WHO, poor water quality poses a health hazard for 25% of Ukrainians that means every fourth Ukrainian harms his or her health though drinking low-quality water, and almost 4.6 million Ukrainians in 261 settlements/villages/municipalities located in all regions of Ukraine receive water from local sources which does not meet drinking water standards.”
Viktoriia Iakovlieva, Information Policy Adviser of the"Kyivvodokanal" water management enterprise, underlined that it was necessary to implement international mechanism of Dnipro monitoring. "Today there are no actions taken in this area centrally by a single government entity. It is necessary to upgrade facilities engaged in the production of drinking water and sewage purification, as well as replace water supply and sanitation that are completely worn out".
World Water Day is held annually on 22 March to generate general attention on the importance of water and to advocate for the sustainable management of freshwater resources. The objective of International Year of Water Cooperation is to raise awareness, both on the potential for increased cooperation, and on the challenges facing water management in light of the increase in demand for water access, allocation and services.