Residents fill up bottles with fresh drinking water, Ukraine Residents fill up bottles with fresh drinking water, Ukraine 

Archbishop Caccia: Water should harm neither human nor environment

Addressing a UN conference on water, Archbishop Gabriele Caccia speaks on behalf of the Holy See, asking for clean, available and safe water for all, everywhere.

By Francesca Merlo

Addressing the United Nations during the conference “Water for sustainable development” at the UN headquarters in New York, Archbishop Gabriele Caccia took the opportunity to offer considerations on behalf of the Holy See, whom he had been representing those three days.

Water is life

Without water, there is no life, began the Archbishop, adding that despite this, "this resource has not been granted the care and attention it deserves.”

In fact, we continue, to this day, to waste, disregard and pollute water, he said.

“Universal access to water, its sustainable and responsible use and management, are indispensable for the achievement of the common good of the entire human family.”

Economic, social and environmental 

The Archbishop then went on to highlight the importance of water within each of the three dimensions of sustainable development: economic, social and environmental.

Speaking of the economic importance, Archbishop Caccia stressed that almost half the world’s population still lives in poverty, "and it is the poor who suffer most from the lack of water, with thousands dying every day."

At the same time, he continued, "the way water is wasted in places of abundance shows, in the words of Pope Francis, 'that the problem of water is partly an educational and cultural issue, since there is little awareness of the seriousness of such behaviour within a context of great inequality.'.

In addition to this, said the Archbishop, increasing accessibility to water depends on greater investment in the infrastructure required for its extraction, filtration, purification, and conservation. 

Sadly, he continued, "our reliance on water for survival continues to become more evident as the effects of climate change take hold in the form of floods, drought, rising temperatures, and natural disasters." 

How water should be

Finally, Archbishop Caccia reiterated that "water is a source of life" which should be recogniased as a primary good that should be available to all. "

This impels us to develop and implement adequate policies that “ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all."

“Let us seize the historic opportunity of this conference to renew our shared commitment to ensure that water is available to all, is suitable for human consumption, and its management is sustainable and does not harm the environment.”


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24 March 2023, 14:18