Peace, sustainable development and prosperity: it’s a matter of “Water Diplomacy”

Peace, sustainable development and prosperity: it’s a matter of “Water Diplomacy”

At Raisina Dialogue, the geopolitical forum underway in New Delhi (this year in collaboration with the G20 India), the sustainable future is being discussed, in an era characterized, underlines the event’s official claim, by “provocation, uncertainty , turbulence” with respect to which the meeting of the 250 selected guests, including Heads of State and experts, is a “beacon in the storm”.

No round of words, no alibi, no procrastination. The awareness that humanity is sailing in a storm of imperative emergencies is clear to everyone. For this reason, at the table of solutions, we start from the priorities and the first is life on Earth, on the blue marble, the blue sphere, whose surface is precisely 70% covered by water, 96.5% of which is in the oceans, just like us human beings in whose body lives 70% of water on average. Therefore, the number one priority is water, which is life.

In India, the water crisis is an increasingly urgent challenge due to rapid urbanization, sustained population growth, and still rudimentary agricultural practices adopted in large parts of the country. Access to drinking water is a priority for the government, a process that necessarily passes from training, and from a profound cultural transition that sees women playing a crucial role because, being widely involved in agricultural work, their active participation in management of water resources could generate positive impacts on the health, food security and prosperity of rural areas.

“The lighthouse of India: Water for all” is the name of the discussion in which I took part, together with Maria Shaw-Barragan of the EIB (European Investment Bank); Auguste Tano Kouamé, World Bank; Rohan Mishra, Coca-Cola; Hadas Mamane, Tel Aviv University; Bharat Lal, National Center for Good Governance of India.

A strategic theme, in line with Italy’s accession to the Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative, launched by the Indian Government in 2015 and based on the concept of “security and growth for all in the region”, a protagonist on Prime Minister Giorgia’s agenda Meloni, during meetings with Indian Prime Minister Modi.

It is a topic that is also a priority for our country, as demonstrated by the recent law decree on the drought emergency which establishes an inter-ministerial control room, also aimed at the adoption of new technologies, and at the national awareness campaign on the responsible use of ‘waterfall.

During my speech, I spoke of water diplomacy. I focused on water as a common good and human right; on models of integral ecological development capable of holding all its dimensions together: human, linked to the quality of the water resource and therefore health; social; cultural; economic; environment and politics. On this last point, local politics in Italy is dotted with virtuous measures. Just think of the implementation of the PUC (municipal urban plans) which, especially in marginal areas, care about the protection of the soil resource, biodiversity and the prevention of hydrogeological instability through incentives aimed primarily at recovering abandoned agricultural land, as in the case of “Foodscape” model of the Municipality of Pollica (UNESCO Emblematic Community of the Mediterranean Diet). Or again, think of the territorial system projects such as “RE.S.TO.RE.” promoted by the CUGRI (Inter-University Consortium for the prediction and prevention of major risks) of Salerno which aims at the “RE-functionalization of minor water schemes aimed at the recovery and enhancement of the landscape heritage and agri-food production”, especially in those areas , such as some areas of the Campania Region, which have been dealing with the issue of water emergencies for years, with strong repercussions even on the most iconic productions.

During the panel, I underlined how these good practices require innovation, especially when referring to the agricultural sector, which employs around 70%.

Efficient management of the entire water cycle value chain, in fact, requires effective integration with new digital technologies such as artificial intelligence, big data, the IOT (internet of things), the cloud, i.e. with technologies that enable predictive analytics, innovative storage systems and precision irrigation models. These technologies concern all stages of the water supply chain: from infrastructure management and resource quality monitoring; to business processes; up to embrace new regenerative agricultural models.

Finally, a key point is represented by education, not only of women and young people, in the management of scarce natural resources. It is necessary to adopt a completely different mentality from the one that led us to generate the storm we are in, making the most of dormant resources and adopting more responsible behaviors in daily life.

In other words, I told how the implementation of a Mediterranean, integral ecological model today represents principles that can be borrowed worldwide to light a “beacon in the storm” and respond with concrete solutions to the mandatory imperative of a sustainable future, which it is the only option to guarantee life on the planet.

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