Water and Migration: How Far Would You Go For Water?

Eva Mach (IOM)
Caritas in Veritate Foundation
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Water is an essential element in all aspects of life. Safe drinking water is indispensable to sustain life and health, and they are fundamental to the dignity of all. However, at the present time, almost 2 billion people are forced to live without a sufficient amount of water for their domestic or personal use. Water scarcity and deprivation is experienced most dramatically by those living in poverty, and often in the poorest countries. However, the concept of “family of nations” should remind us that responsibility for those who are poor rests, in particular, with those who enjoy a richer lifestyle. The right to water is a basic human right and affects everyone; it is a source of great suffering in our common home. In the last decades, the crucial role of water in development has been recognized by the International Community and the issue of water has become a top priority. There seems to be common agreement that the survival of humanity and all species on earth depends, to a great degree, on the availability of potable water. Such access is the key to life with dignity and to promoting and upholding human rights. Looking at the work done over the last years, the International Community is called to continue its action in finding practical solutions capable of surmounting selfish concerns that prevent everyone from exercising this fundamental right. In achieving the 2030 Agenda, water concerns of the poor become the concerns of all in a prospective of solidarity. Water needs to be given the central place it deserves in the framework of public policy and thus water management should be based on a participatory approach, involving users, planners and policy makers at all levels.

This paper looks at available evidence on the nexus between migration and fresh water availability (what do we know), the impacts of climate change (what is expected to come) and available policy options to manage such new realities (what can we do about it).

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