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					Delegation of                                                                                         Represented by
Jamaica                                                                               Randolph-Macon Woman’s College

                    Position Paper for the United Nations International Hydrologic Programme

The issues before the IHP are the following: Impact of Climate Change on Water Resources, Water as an Agent of
Cooperation, and Urbanization and Water Management Issues

                                  I.   Impact of Climate Change on Water Resources

Climate change is one of the most supreme challenges to ever face the global community. Given the gravest possible
repercussions if the issue is not addressed, all fates will end the same. No area is more affected by climate change than
water resources. Climate change can create drought and desertification which can lead to decreasing crop yields,
shortages of water for human consumption, increasing water navigation costs, and water conflicts. Conversely, climate
change can also lead to flooding and rising ocean levels, increasing the possibility of internally displaced people and loss
of land for coastal nations. Climate change has already shown its destructive potential with increases in devastating
hurricanes, glacier melts, and a rise in global sea levels. Unfortunately, climate change is complex, multifaceted issue
which has yet to fully garner the necessary attention, let alone the political will, from the international community’s most
capable members. Jamaica nonetheless supports current efforts to address the issue through channels established by the
UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC), the Kyoto Protocol, and the World Water Forum.

Jamaica, Land of Wood and Water, is deeply concerned about the effects of climate change on water resources. In the
short run, Jamaica is implementing programs to educate citizens about water conservation strategies and is attempting to
update current building codes to withstand the increasing hurricane and tropical storm threats. We participate in multiple
regional efforts to confront the challenge of climate change and its effects, including the USDE Caribbean Hazard
Mitigation Projects, assisted by the World Bank, and the Caribbean Planning for Adaptation to Climate Change. These
efforts are examples of successful steps in facing and preparing for global climate change and its effects. However,
because many of the current international efforts to curb climate change lack suitable enforcement mechanisms, progress
in the area has proven to be less effective than needed at this point in our collective history.

To speed momentum on this issue, old efforts must be strengthened and new efforts must be pursued. There is no one
solution to the multitude of problems and diverse national circumstances; A multi-part plan is needed, one which looks
at climate change as a whole and in parts and in the short term and the long term. First, focus should be placed on
conserving the natural areas which provide carbon mitigation power. Next, a large-scale expansion of renewable energy
initiatives at a scale sufficient to meet the needs of developing countries and encouraging incentives for the use of these
sources for local energy supply and consumption is crucial. In addition, a strengthening of the national and collective
capacities of countries to develop policy strategies regarding the international regime on energy, climate change and
atmospheric pollution is needed. The creation of an active organization within the FCCC Framework is necessary to
coordinate global efforts along all key dimensions of environmental sustainability. In conclusion, by ushering our
collective resources and working in intentional multilateral directions, we can create more powerful and longer-lasting
advances in the issue of climate change and its effects on water resources.

                                   III. Urbanization and Water Management Issues

Alarmingly, roughly one billion people in the developing nations live without access to safe drinking water. Yet more
unsettling is the fact that the world’s supply of fresh water is finite. Current projections estimate that the world’s
population will reach 9.4 billion by the year 2050; most of this growth will occur in urban areas. Measures need to be
taken in order to ensure that those living in urban areas not only have access to clean drinking water, but are not
adversely affected by lack of clean sanitation. The health of all those living in urban areas, both rich and poor, is in
jeopardy if water is not available for consumption and if waste is not properly managed. Developing countries face
special trouble, as their populations are increasing at rates much faster than developed nations, and they lack both the
financial capabilities and the information and technology to adequately manage urbanization issues. To avoid
exacerbating the severe freshwater shortages over the next quarter century, and to meet the Millennium Development
Goals related to assuring access to clean water, member states need to renew their commitment to existing projects
within their countries which focus on meeting the challenges of urbanization and water management.
Jamaica has ratified all United Nations conventions relating to sustainability and development, and our current priority is
to provide the people of Jamaica, both native and visiting, with potable, sanitary water. Jamaica is increasingly strained
by heavy population loads, with our tourist population more than tripling in twenty years. Jamaica, the Pearl of the
Caribbean, has taken steps in order to reach the MDG goal of reducing by half the proportion of people who are unable
to reach or afford safe drinking water by the year 2015. Our government is especially interested in creative partnerships
to meet this challenging goal. To this end, we entered an arrangement with India, which aided us in the purchase of
much needed water pipes and other supplies, allowing for the availability of water in communities where pressure is low
or where lock-offs are often experienced, and the purchase of generators to ensure adequate water being supplied to
major urban centers. In 2003, the U.S. Agency for International Development, U.S. Department of State, Japan Bank for
International Cooperation, and the Japan Ministry of Foreign Affairs chose the Philippines, Jamaica, and Indonesia as
their pilot countries for the Clean Water for People Initiative, the purpose of which is to provide safe water and
sanitation to the world's poor, improve watershed management, and increase the productivity of water.

The topics of urbanization and water management are difficult, partly because each Member State has vastly differing
challenges which are in the end nonetheless connected. Jamaica believes that new international efforts would prove futile
due to a lack of comparability of situations among nations. What is necessary is the continuation and strengthening of the
initiatives already occurring within and between Member States, including the upgrading of waste management and
sewage systems, and education programs to instruct on water conservation and proper waste management. A useful
project of this sort is IHP’s Flow Regimes from International Experimental and Network Data (FRIEND), which
Jamaica proposes should be used as a way to foster communication dialogue about successes and problems in the fields
of urbanization and water management so that any innovations and new technologies can be implemented by countries
on national and local levels. In addition, Jamaica encourages the continuation of the use of Agenda 21 as a mechanism
through which countries submit progress reports and that encourages the participation of the international financial
institutions to aid those countries unable to adequately fund their national water management initiatives.

                                         II. Water as an Agent of Cooperation

Water promises to be to the 21st century what oil was to the 20th century: the precious commodity that determines the
wealth of nations. This means in turn that water will become an increasingly predominant source of conflict between and
within nations. Currently, there are 263 river basins that span international borders. Of these, 67 are in Europe, 59 are in
Africa, 57 are in Asia, 40 are in North America, and 38 are in South America. Clearly, water, and the conflicts that arise
from its scarcity, are truly global issues. These shared waters are home to about 40 percent of the world’s population and
generate 60 percent of the world’s freshwater resources; predicted world population increases will cause water demands
to exceed availability by 56 percent, with two-thirds of the world's population living in areas of acute water stress or
water scarcity. The question that falls at the feet of the international community is how water’s potential as an agent of
cooperation can be strengthened before wars over water become ubiquitous and costly.

When compared to our neighboring Caribbean partners and African countries, Jamaica is advanced in terms of water
availability. Seventy eight percent of our water resources have not been harnessed for use. Although Jamaica currently
has enough raw water available for use, we believe that any future water conflicts are the concern of all nations and
represent a duty for all to address them in creative and vibrant partnerships. Jamaica knows that the droughts which have
been predicted to occur increasingly due to climate change will surely decrease our water supply and the water supplies
of others. Even if we continue to have an adequate supply of water, we may be called upon to aid other neighboring
nations with their water shortages. Jamaica, the Pearl of the Caribbean, stands willing to help but does recognize that as a
small island nation we can only do so within reason and with significant support.

While applauding ongoing efforts of the IHP, Jamaica sees other solutions that have not yet been attempted. Jamaica
believes that the first step towards the preservation of water resources and the prevention of water conflicts should be
made on local and national levels. Jamaica is willing to work diligently to strengthen programs such as IHP’s Potential
Conflicts to Cooperation Potential (PCCP) to deescalate tensions when trans-border water conflicts arise. Jamaica
proposes that, under the auspices of the PCCP, a list of country groups which share water resources should be gathered
and forums created to facilitate preventive discussions about plans for resolutions to potential water conflicts. These
discussions and plans would be similar to and can be modeled after the already existing and successful Nile Basin
Initiative and the Good Neighbor’s Project; the only direct funding needed would be to facilitate communication among
nations. In conclusion, Jamaica stresses that the most effective way to use water as an agent of cooperation is to design
proactive and collaborative approaches around positive and multilateral dialogue.

				
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