September 26, 2012

Water Security Takes Center Stage at UN Meeting

Yesterday, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton participated in a roundtable on water security while visiting the United Nations in New York, raising the security profile of water among delegates at the UN General Assembly meeting.

In a speech in March honoring World Water Day, Secretary Clinton said that water is “an essential ingredient of global peace, stability, and security.” She added: “We think it actually is our duty and responsibility to make sure that this water issue stays at the very top of America’s foreign policy and national security agenda.”

Secretary Clinton’s remarks earlier this year coincided with the release of the intelligence community’s Global Water Security report, a study commissioned by the State Department to analyze the effect of water on U.S. foreign policy and national security interests. “This assessment is a landmark document that puts water security in its rightful place as part of national security,” Secretary Clinton said of the report.

Yesterday, Secretary Clinton reiterated her clarion call for action to address the growing global water crisis, drawing on the intelligence community's findings to frame water as a security issue. 

“Now, this year alone in the United States, we’ve experienced extreme drought conditions in some parts of our country and devastating floods in others. We are well aware that Europe, Asia, and Africa have all experienced similar challenges. Now, you’ve already heard about our Intelligence Community Assessment on Global Water Security, and I hope that you will have if you didn’t today have a chance to really study it, because water scarcity could have profound implications for security,” Secretary Clinton said yesterday.

“The report found that dwindling supplies and poor management of water resources will certainly affect millions of people as food and crops grow scarcer and access to water more difficult to obtain. In fact, in some places, the water tables are already more depleted than we thought and wells are drying up.”

Read Secretary Clinton’s full remarks here

Photo: Secretary of State Clinton joins a roundtable discussion on water, peace and security at the United Nations. Courtesy of Michael Gross and the U.S. State Department.