United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Major Group: Business & Industry

Water, Tuesday, 12 April 2005
· Access to basic water services
Intervention of the Business and Industry Major Group
Delivered by Robert Martin, World Business Council for Sustainable
Thank you Madame Chair.
The business community shares the concerns about the scale of the challenge of
meeting goals and targets for water, and recognizes that progress requires the
engagement of all sectors of society.
The commitment of the business community has been shown by the actions of many
individual companies and can be seen in the initiatives of numerous business
organizations acting at the global, regional and local levels.
Examples of what businesses can do to support sustainable water management can
be found in the case studies available here at the UN CSD through Business Action
for Water. They reflect actions for which businesses can take the lead in their
operations, products and services, for which businesses must work primarily with civil
society and for which they can best work in responsible interaction with governments.
Many businesses are directly concerned with issues in IWRM. They are essential
actors in economic development with significant direct and indirect impacts on the
use of water resources and the quality of the aquatic environment. They face growing
risks that include decreasing availability and reliability of water supply, declining
water quality, supply chain interruptions and loss of license to operate where
business use of water competes with meeting the basic needs of local communities.
The business community largely supports the principle of IWRM that can help to
provide a framework to reduce these risks.
What can businesses do? Water management plans for their own operations,
measuring the efficiency of water use, evaluating environmental impacts and
reducing pollution at the source are some areas where businesses can take the lead.
We would like to emphasize, however, that technology and innovation are areas
where businesses can make a substantial contribution for all sectors and, in
agreement with the views expressed yesterday by the G77, we believe that this
deserves greater emphasis in the Chair?s text.
Thank you for your attention.