When we think about security in the global sense we tend to focus on terrorism although, according to Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, Iran is now the most significant threat to security in the world. Of course it isn't, and terrorism is actually a trivial threat on the world stage. A number of other phenomena are vastly more threatening to people's security, including oppression by dictatorial regimes such as Syria's, diseases such as malaria, and of course the most ominous of all, global warming. And then there's the increasing scarcity of that basic necessity of life—water.
Not that we should need it, but we have received yet another warning about the looming global water crisis, this time in the form of a book entitled The Global Water Crisis: Addressing an Urgent Security Issue, released by The InterAction Council, a group consisting of former heads of state or government. The authors of the book are experts in a broad range of water issues.
They point out that in 2010, the UN General Assembly formally recognized the “right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation as a human right that is essential for the full enjoyment of life and all human rights.” This is of course a statement of the obvious, but is important nonetheless as formally establishing this basic need as a human right.
The book mentions some chilling facts including that lack of clean water and proper sanitation kills about 4,500 children every day. Compared to such facts, and the potential for future conflicts over water, the terrorist threat pales into insignificance. Sensibly, our efforts to achieve security for the world's people should focus on those areas that pose the greatest threat, and water scarcity is very high on the list.