World water leaders press hard on water, sanitation goalsUN-Water, the Stockholm International Water Institute and their global partners have made an impassioned plea for water and sanitation to be provided to all by 2030.

In a statement at the close of World Water Week in Stockholm, Sweden, leaders in the field of water and sanitation called on governments working towards the United Nations Summit on Sustainable Development 2012, known as the Rio+20 Summit, to set meaningful targets beyond the scope of the Millennium Development Goals that commit to real advances in water and sanitation provision.

"The Rio+20 Summit is a great opportunity to review how water, energy and food are perceived and managed by human society. UN-Water, through its members and partners, has identified ways in which the global water, energy and food security challenges can be addressed - leading to a climate resilient and robust green economy," said Mr. Adeel Zafar, Chair of UN-Water.

"A key target we would like to see taken up is the provisioning of safe water, adequate sanitation and modern energy services to everyone on the planet by 2030, prioritising solutions for the 'bottom billion' who currently lack access to these basic services."

In the statement, the signatories specifically stated that efficiencies in water use in the fields of energy, agriculture and food supply should be increased by at least a fifth while water pollution had to be decreased by the same amount.

UN Under-Secretary-General and UN-HABITAT Executive Director, Joan Clos, welcomed the statement: "It is important that we focus on increasing the efficiency of our water production and use if we are make real strides towards sustainability.

"This is particularly important in urban areas," he continued, "where the misuse of water for food production and industrial and domestic use is often high. By planning now for the cities of the tomorrow we can reduce the cost and efficiency of providing basic services like water, ensuring they last for future generations." You can read the full statement here.

Mr. Anders Berntell, Executive Director, of Stockholm International Water Institute added: "If we do not take dramatic, immediate strides to create more resource-efficient societies, then water shortages will constrain economic growth and inhibit food and energy production in many regions. There are tremendous opportunities to save water and stimulate development by cutting water losses in energy production, by generating energy from water reuse and by reducing the losses and waste of food from the field on its way to the consumer.

"Achieving the goals and targets put forth by the participants at the 2011 World Water Week in Stockholm will help ensure that conclusions of the Rio+20 has a real impact on human well-being across the world."

Dr. Li Lifeng, Director, Freshwater, WWF warned that the availability of fresh water that would have the biggest impact on the food security and energy security of billions. "Solving the water, energy and food equation for the world has to be a global priority." The Stockholm Statement was also supported by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety as well as the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and endorsed by other international organizations.