United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Switzerland (Part 1)

CSD-13 on Water, Sanitation and Human Settlements
New York, April 11-22, 2005
Speaking Points Number 1
Thematic Session on water:
Topic: IWRM
01.03.05: : 10:00 ? 11:30 Conference Room 1
Sibylle Vermont
Mr. Chairman,
· We should commit ourselves to integrate IWRM into our national development
strategies, including into the Poverty Reduction Strategies
· While IWRM is about management rather than just on provision, its initiatives
operating at the lowest possible level must include potential benefits for women and
other marginalised groups.
· There are further aspects of IWRM that need to be taken into account
· We must recognize that flood management is one of the pillars of IWRM, with regard
to the paragraphs 32 and 33 of the chairman?s summary. Indeed, two-third of all
reported disasters are water related. Therefore we must create an organic link
between strategies towards sustainable development and the Hyogo framework for
action 2005-2015 adopted by our countries at the World Conference on Disaster
Reduction in Kobe this year.
· With regards to paragraph 31 and in addition to international cooperation as well as
in accordance with para. 80, we must also realize that Multilateral Environmental
Agreements such as the Ramsar convention on wetlands, the climate change
convention, the convention on biological diversity, the convention on desertification,
the chemicals and waste conventions all address water management. Therefore they
should be seen as part of the essential tools required for the implementation of
IWRM plans.
At national level, focal points for the implementation of those Multilateral Environment
Agreements should be involved in the drafting and in the implementation of IWRM
plans for a coherent national water policy.
· Relating to the paragraohs 31 of the chairman?s summary, it is time to recognize that
we need to recognize the necessity to add a new dimension to IWRM, that is ?Nature
for Water?.for the following reasons:
· Well, first we usually complain about the lack of data, the inappropriate monitoring.
Now, we have excellent information from the Millenium Ecosystem Assessment
Synthesis report (1300 scientists, from some 95 countries).
· According to the findings of that report
1) 2/3 of the ecosystems services mankind fully relies on worldwide are degrading. The
services that are being degraded at a disquieting pace ?mainly through the loss of
wetlands and forests-- are those providing freshwater.
2) We have to recognize the alarming consequence of this: The loss of ecosystem
services is an impediment to reach the MDGs.
3)Indeed, the poorest populations of. regions such as the Sub -Saharan Africa, Central
Asia, some regions in South America, parts of South Asia and South-East Asia will
suffer most from the loss of ecosystems. These are the same regions facing the biggest
challenges in achieving the MDGs.
Hence, the protection and sustainable use of ecosystems is not a luxury which only
developed countries can afford but it is a global necessity.
· What do we have to do?
· Confirming para. 31of the chairman?s summary, it is a responsibility to recognize
ecosystems as primary ?infrastructure?, as they ensure water supply, sanitation, food
supply and flood and drought management. This is well recognized by the SG report
entitled ?In larger freedom?.
· The services provided by ecosystems services are taken for granted and are not
accounted for. Therefore valuing ecosystems, that is putting a market value to their
services, must be seen as a long term investment and an asset for development and
for ensuring livelihoods.
· This will help us to raise awareness about the costs for human kind of the destruction
of the ecosystems and their services.
· We need to raise decision-makers? and public awareness about the value of
ecosystems in terms of health, food security and flood and drought protection, that is
in terms of poverty reduction at large.
· Looking at maintenance of ecosystem services, there are different options:
· For example, To finance a project, a bank usually looks at the creditworthiness, that
is at the capacity of a project to get a credit depending on its physical assets (such
as money, property and goods). But we need to learn that a project which is
destroying ecosystems, which is liquidating its ecosystem assets, is not only
reducing the opportunities for livelihood at national level but is also becoming less
attractive for investors. And this should be reflected in the credit granting process for
water related projects.
· In accordance with the para. 25 and 83 of the chairman?s summary, we also need to
look further at market incentives such as payments for ecosystem services that can
be used at the watershed level.
· With regard to para. 84, Debt for nature swaps could also be very instrumental to
provide funding to develop projects driven by payments for ecosystem services.
So, to summarize:
· Ecosystems provide services on which mankind can develop, in return development
is responsible for sustaining the ecosystems.
· Switzerland calls upon Governments so that in parallel and key to the protection and
sustainable use of ecosystems, the poor are given access to water supply, sanitation
and small scale irrigation for families. This will create a virtuous circle : Ecosystems
for water; water for people; ecosystems for people; people protect ecosystems