Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the World Bank on World Water Day at World Bank headquarters in Washington, DC on Tuesday, March 22. The MOU will strengthen support to developing countries seeking a water secure future. Secretary Clinton and World Bank President Robert Zoellick delivered brief remarks. Secretary Clinton said:
"...The water crisis is a health crisis, it's a farming crisis, it's an economic crisis, it's a climate crisis, and increasingly, it is a political crisis. And therefore, we must have an equally comprehensive response.
"Now our experts in the United States Government are working on water issues at nearly two dozen agencies " of course, from State and USAID, but also the Millennium Challenge Corporation, NASA, NOAA, EPA, Treasury, and so much else. And many of our agencies are already working with the World Bank Group, but we want to enhance that collaboration, and that will be created by the memorandum of understanding that we sign today.
"Now, the MOU is a good step forward, but we have so much further to go together. As you've already heard Bob say in his recitation of some of the statistics that should be driving all of us to greater efforts, more than 5,000 people die each day from causes linked to unsafe water, sanitation, and hygiene, and most of them are children. Millions of women and girls walk for hours every day to collect water for their households, and some of them put their very lives and physical safety at risk. And by 2025, we believe that it could be as much as two-thirds of the world's population, including in more areas within developed countries where people will be living under water stress. And that will, in turn, both undermine and impede socioeconomic development.
"So we come today determined to do what we can to make sure those statistics not only don't worsen, but begin to reverse. One year ago, I reaffirmed the United States's commitment to water security, to ensuring that people have the water they need, when and where they need it, in a sustainable manner, while reducing the risk and impact of extreme water events like droughts and floods. So water security for us is a matter of economic security, human security, and national security, because we see potential for increasing unrest, conflicts, and instability over water. That is why I asked the National Intelligence Council to prepare an intelligence estimate on the national security implications of water security up to the year 2040.
"But there is another side to this issue. The water crisis can bring people together. In fact, on water issues, cooperation, not conflict, is and can be the rule. We have seen this in the success of local water groups, neighbors combining their resources to build wells and install pipes, then paying for water together. We have seen how water projects, done right, can unite engineers, health experts, educators, and political leaders. And we have seen countries come together to settle disputes and arrive at joint solutions to their water problems. So we want to enhance collaboration and commitment to bring more clean water and sanitation to more people.
"We take this very seriously, so in our government, we're now working to increase the impact of our policies and programs through our strategy to advance water security worldwide."