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Water Challenge - a blog by Peter Brabeck-Letmathe


I hope this blog will create discussion about the important issue of water use and availability around the world.

Your comments and views are very important and I encourage you to help me build and develop the conversation.

Peter Brabeck-Letmathe

Chairman Nestlé SA

A water-secure world for everyone: a shared responsibility

Word of thanks after the speech of the President of the Swiss Confederation, Mr. Didier Burkhalter

On 9 October 2014, the President of the Swiss Confederation, Mr. Didier Burkhalter joined the Creating Shared Value Forum 2014 organised by Nestlé and UNCTAD to deliver the closing address. With his permission, I post his important speech (also on YouTube, starting after 1 hour 09’ 40’’), as usual with an invitation to comment.

Ladies and gentlemen,

When astrophysicists look for traces of life in the outer space, they look for water. Water is life. Water is a finite resource, which cannot be substituted. Without water there is no health, no food, no energy, no social and economic development, no security – no life.

Today, we are moving dangerously towards a world without enough fresh water.

Population growth, urbanisation, a growing global middle class and changes in production and consumption patterns – all these trends are directly impacting our water resources and related ecosystems. Climate change adds to the challenge by increasing the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events.

The problem is not only one of over use. Diminishing water resources are also threatened by pollution. Every day, two million tonnes of sewage and waste are discharged directly into the world’s aquatic ecosystems.

The 2014 Creating Shared Value Global Forum: Water

With Elhad As Sy, Secretary-General IFRC, Maria Cattaui (moderator) and Margaret Catley-Carlson on the panel

Creating Shared Value (CSV) begins with the understanding that for our business and our shareholders to prosper over the long term, the communities we serve must also prosper, through actions that substantially address a social or environmental challenge. At Nestlé, we focus on three areas - rural development, nutrition and last but not least, water. In all three areas our efforts are about concrete initiatives on our own and in partnerships, but obviously, public policy dialogue is also an essential part of the concept.

On an annual basis we invite stakeholders to stimulate thinking around how business can deliver on this concept of CSV. The last meeting of this series on 9 October 2014 was co-organised by Nestlé and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

I took part in the water session; below is the transcript of some of my remarks pointing to the urgency of this problem. If you would like to watch the full session it is available here.

World Food Day 2014: on water and food

Water for irrigation: a falaj in the mountains of Oman

On the occasion of World Food Day 2014 I gave an interview on water and food. You can find it here.

Not only on World Food Day, we should remember that access to sufficient food (calories and proteins) and nutrition (micronutrients, balance, etc.) remains an issue for hundreds of millions of people in the world.

2014 Stockholm Water Prize for John Briscoe: laudatory speech by Margaret Catley-Carlson

Margaret Catley-Carlson speaking on behalf of The Stockholm Prize Nominating Committee. September 4, 2014

Today’s guest blog was sent to me by Maggie Catley-Carlson. No doubt, she is one of the people with the deepest knowledge of water issues I know, and with the best network in and beyond the water community.

That’s why she was exactly the right person to give the laudatory speech for John Briscoe at the 2014 Stockholm Water Prize ceremony. (See also my own post on this important recognition for John.)

Many thanks to Maggie for allowing me to post her speech on my blog.

Water management – part four: Global goals to focus local efforts

With Amina J. Mohammed of Nigeria, the UN Secretary-General's Special Adviser on Post-2015 Development Planning

Good management – also locally – is only possible if based on clearly defined and broadly agreed targets and priorities. This is why we need a single post-2015 Sustainable Economic and Social Development Goal for Water with four concrete targets responding to the major challenges outlined in earlier parts of this post. The discussion on the post-2015 Goals is ongoing. The proposals that I made on several occasions, need, if you agree with them, your support whenever and wherever possible: