Indonesia: Attention to water issues can help mitigate the effects of climate change - CWS
One of the women participants in CWS water projects in Meulaboh, Indonesia, said, 'It makes us happy to know that we no longer have to leave our children alone while I am gone for several hours a day to carrying water for the family.'
World leaders from nearly 200 countries gathered in Bali, Indonesia, for two weeks in December to negotiate commitments and to craft public policies and measures for their people, enabling them to better cope with the potentially catastrophic effects of climate changes worldwide.
At several points the climate change meetings highlighted potential for natural calamities even greater in magnitude than the 2004 tsunami. Perhaps more than any other natural resource, water is central to the global warming debate, as water impacts availability of food, crops, agriculture and habitation--almost everything.
Some within the climate change debate are placing emphasis on ecological sustainability, as well as the economic sustainability of development and mitigation. CWS development work in partnership with communities in Aceh province, the hardest hit of the tsunami areas in 2004, has helped communities recover from the disaster. "These recovery efforts underscore both the importance of including mitigation awareness and activities at the community level, and the centrality of water-water access and water management--as a key community resource, central to human development and to all life," says Rajyashri Waghray, director of the CWS Education & Advocacy Program.
In Meulaboh, more than one community leader identified water and access to it as central, not only to their priorities, but as an important social, or quality of life, indicator fundamental to life itself. Muhammad Ihsan, a Program Officer, observed, 'People definitely want a house, it is a priority... but they see it as devoid of meaning for their well being when...they do not have access to water.'
"While recent campaigns have called for 'making poverty history,' the reality is that the negative effects of climate change could make poverty permanent for the most vulnerable," says Waghray.
CWS has joined 29 United States development, faith, environmental and other groups in the global context, focusing on four key principles to guide the United States on the intertwined issues of climate change and global poverty:
- All countries, including the United
States, must act now to do their fair share to reduce their contribution
to global warming.
- The United States has a responsibility to provide assistance and to help developing countries adapt to the consequences to global warming.
- The United States must work collaboratively with other nations to address climate change and the critical links between global warming and global poverty.
- The United States must shift to a more sustainable domestic energy path, as well as support other nations in their shift to a more sustainable energy and climate path.