President David Granger yesterday called for the introduction of further initiatives to protect freshwater resources, particularly the rivers of the Guiana Shield.
The President was speaking at the Opening Ceremony of the 8th World Water Forum (WWF) in Brasilia, Brazil
According to a Ministry of the Presidency statement, Granger outlined a three-point agenda. He called for a global commitment to continuous attention and unceasing action; increased collaboration among states, especially neighbours, which share the waters of rivers and to improve conservation of water resources and the protection of the environment everywhere.
Speaking at the official opening ceremony of the forum, the statement said that Granger said, “Guyana calls on this World Water Forum to take action to protect and preserve the Guiana Shield as a vital source of the world’s freshwater reserves. At stake is nothing less than humanity itself. Guyana, a small state, is part of the Guiana Shield, an area spread over 2.7 million square kilometres, making it bigger than Greenland. The ‘Shield’ is a zone, which encompasses parts of Brazil, Colombia and all of French Guiana, Guyana, Suriname and parts of Venezuela. The ‘Shield’, described as the “lungs of the Earth” and the “greenhouse of the world” is a global resource because of the environmental services it provides.”
He said that the Guiana Shield is vital to global water security because it contains 15 percent of the world’s freshwater resources.
“The Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change has forecasted that climate change will result in reduced surface and ground water in most sub-tropical regions… The world’s freshwater supplies, unfortunately, are under threat. Water stress is increasing in many parts of the world. Aquifers are depleted faster than they are replenished. The growth of the world’s population will increase demand for water by 55 percent by the year 2050, placing even further strain on freshwater reserves…. Rivers must be protected from pollution, including that caused by environmental degradation and the discharge of effluent from industry, mining and agriculture.
River pollution impacts adversely on water quality, on health and the economic and social well-being of citizens,” President Granger urged.
The statement said that the WWF is the world’s largest water-related event, organised every three-years by the World Water Council.
The President is accompanied by Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman, Director General in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Audrey Waddell and Guyana’s Ambassador to Brazil, George Talbot.