More Critical Than Ever : MANAGING RESOURCES

Manila Bulletin, July 7, 2012 | Go to article overview

More Critical Than Ever : MANAGING RESOURCES


ABOUT 16 million Filipinos, or some 20 percent of the population, have no access to potable water. Twenty-two million, 24 percent, have no access to sanitation facilities. Apart from water and sanitation scarcity, there is a dire need to wean our country away from fossil fuel dependency and invest heavily in clean energy.

The international community recognizes these as some of the world's problems. Hence in 2000, world leaders agreed on a monumental framework that strives to foster inclusive growth by focusing largely on human development - the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDG's). These include reducing by half the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water by the year 2015, in recognition of the fact that the first step in fighting poverty is by providing water and sanitation for all.

I was in Singapore last week to take part in the CleanEnviro Summit as a guest speaker and panelist. The summit convened leaders, decision-makers, and multilateral organization officials to plan effective legislative frameworks and implement application of technological solutions not only to water management but also to renewable energy.

The high-level dialogue explores how policies and strategies can promote a clean environment and stimulate green growth as part of a comprehensive and integrated approach on the energy-water-waste nexus.

Water is the single most important resource that sustains life on our planet, yet the supply of usable water all over the world is rapidly depleting due to abuse and mismanagement of resources. It is a major health issue in the country where more than one-third of diseases are water-borne. It is also crucial in achieving food security, as food production relies heavily on water. Agriculture accounts for 86 percent of water usage.

The Philippines would have to adopt the Integrated Water Resources Management approach, an internationally recognized philosophy governing the use of water based on the fact that is both a human right and an economic good. This is embodied in the Water Sector Reform Act I have filed.

Furthermore, we are not maximizing our natural resources to alleviate oil dependency. The share of renewable energy in our installed generating capacity was 33 percent as of 2010. …

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