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CHAPTER 18: PROTECTION OF THE QUALITY AND SUPPLY OF FRESHWATER RESOURCES

This chapter addresses the importance of effective integrated management of water resources to all socio-economic sectors relying on water. Freshwater was the topic of one of the contact groups established by the Main Committee primarily because the introduction to the chapter had not been negotiated at PrepCom IV. After two meetings of the contact group, delegates agreed on a five-paragraph introduction that had been drafted by the coordinator, Bukar Shaib of Nigeria. Although most were satisfied with the draft, there was some concern about the mention of the International Conference on Water and the Environment that was held in Dublin in January 1992. A number of delegations believed that reference should not be made to the Dublin Conference because: (1) not all of the recommendations of the Dublin Conference had been incorporated into Agenda 21; (2) Dublin had been a conference of experts, not governments; and (3) the recommendations were agreed to by vote and not consensus. Only a few delegates argued for retention of the paragraph referring to the Conference. When this text was brought back to the Main Committee, France expressed reservations to the omission of this text and argued for its reinstatement. After considerable debate and consultations during the final session of the Main Committee, France removed its reservations and allowed the text to be adopted.

The other bracketed paragraphs dealt with targets and timetables for the implementation of various activities in the chapter. Members of the G-77 recognized the importance of setting such targets but wanted to ensure that there will be new and additional resources available to help them meet these targets. These brackets were removed after the chapter on financial resources was finalized.

The programme areas in this chapter are: Integrated water resources development and management; Water resources assessment; Protection of water resources, water quality and aquatic ecosystems; Drinking-water supply and sanitation; Water and sustainable urban development; Water for sustainable food production and rural development; and Impacts of climate change on water resources.

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