Statement by Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the UN, Ambassador Volodymyr Yelchenko at the Ministerial Level Briefing in the UNSC On Preventive Diplomacy and Transboundary Waters

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Your Excellency Mr. President,


Distinguished delegates,

Dear colleagues,

At the outset, let me thank the Bolivian Presidency for convening the Security Council meeting on this important topic.

The World Economic Forum’s 2017 Global Risks Report ranks “water crises” as a top ten global risk, linking it to a cluster of environment-related risks — notably extreme weather events, failures of climate change mitigation and adaptation, as well as to migration and conflict.

As of today,nearly 1 billion people in the world are in danger of experiencing shortages of food and water. Moreover, 90 % of the world’s current population live in countries that share rivers, lakes or aquifers with other countries. These transboundary watercourses are overexploited and vulnerable to pollution.

It all underlines that transboundary water cooperation is essential for maintaining national, regional and global stability.There is no doubt that many countries are facing fierce competition over access to water resources. In regions where water is both scarce and in high demand, this problem may trigger a significant drop in economic growth, leading to uneven distribution of limited water resources, lower living standards, rising unemployment and humanitarian needs. All this may result in forced migration or even cause armed conflicts.

Mr. President,

We fully share the view that such current trends clearly require that Governments, the UN system, civil society, private sector, local authorities work together to address holistically and in a comprehensive manner this challenge and mitigate associated risks.

To achieve this outcome, Ukraine advocates strengthening river basin cooperation and international partnerships in regard to the sustainable water management, environmental protection, as well as transfer of affordable technologies on water and energy. We also stand for the developmental approach of acquiring technical knowledge and technological capacity through education and relevant research activities, particularly in developing countries.

We are convinced that the progress in upholding peace and stability in the area of water security also depends on adequate management of the growing demand for resources under the conditions of reduced supply combined with population growth. To minimize the gap between supply and demand in access to fresh water, the international community requires effective security and developmental strategies for resource management and conservation.

Dear colleagues,

We believe thatcreating effective legal and political frameworks is crucial for preventing conflict and fostering cooperation on transboundary water related issues.

As a State Party to the UNECE Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (Water Convention), adopted in 1992, Ukraine supports and promotes knowledge and experience sharing as regards water and security nexus.

We firmly believe that our desire and will to protect the planet must transform into actions. For this UN, member states need to move from declaring their aspirations to taking concrete steps to secure the future we want for present and future generations.

I thank you.