March 22, 2012

2012 World Water Day

Today is World Water Day, a day to promote awareness of the acute water and food shortages plaguing the estimated 1 out of 8 persons that lack reliable access to clean drinking water. 

This morning at 10:30 AM, tune into the State Department's website where you can watch Secretary of State Clinton deliver her remarks on World Water Day. According to a State Department release, Secretary Clinton will also launch the new U.S. Water Partnership (USWP) today. The statement says that “The USWP is a public-private partnership formed to share U.S. knowledge, leverage and mobilize resources, and facilitate cross-sector partnerships to find solutions to global water accessibility challenges, especially in the developing world.”

The Director of National Intelligence will also release the Global Water Security Intelligence Community Assessment, a long-awaited report from the intelligence community that describes the security challenges associated with increased water scarcity.

Hopefully the rollout of the IC report timed with a major speech by Secretary Clinton will generate some greater awareness within the security community about the importance of water security to U.S. national security and foreign policy. As Secretary Clinton said in a speech in 2010, “water represents one of the great diplomatic and development opportunities of our time.” As the United States rebalances in the Asia Pacific, perhaps water can serve as a touchstone for building strategic partnerships with countries already beset by water insecurity, a challenge likely to be exacerbated in the future. It is something that security practitioners should consider.