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As prepared

Thank you, it’s a pleasure to join this panel.

The energy in this room is a sign that the freshwater and ocean communities are ready to come together to address global water security.

Forty percent of the world’s population lives near the coast.  Millions of people around the world are impacted each year by floods, droughts, and other extreme weather events, by water pollution and climate change.  So we cannot afford to neglect the important topics being discussed here today.

Water security is a priority for the United States and we are happy to be part of this discussion to take stock of where we are, discuss ways to improve, and chart a course to achieve the targets set forth in SDGs 6 and 14.

As you know, we are still way off track and much remains to be done:

Despite strong gains, we lag in delivering basic services – two billion – two billion – people lack access to safely managed drinking water.

Over half the global population – 3.6 billion people – lack safely managed sanitation services.

Half of all health care facilities – health care facilities! – lack access to reliable water, sanitation, and hygiene.

Nearly half the global population lives in a country where water is scarce at least one month per year.

And eight to fourteen million tons of plastic pollution leaks into our aquatic environment each year.

So, what can we do about it?  What are we doing about it?

In the United States, President Biden signed the bipartisan “Save Our Seas 2.0 Act”, which will strengthen our ability to prevent and respond to marine debris, in part through major infrastructure improvements.

And earlier this month, Vice President Harris launched the White House Action Plan on Global Water Security, an unprecedented whole-of-government effort to coalesce the U.S. government around a common goal of tackling the water crisis.

The global water strategy will also complement the President’s Emergency Plan for Adaptation and Resilience (PREPARE) launched in Glasgow at COP26, which helps us focus global efforts on climate adaptation in the water sector.

The United States recognizes that water security is vital to our national security, to global security.

No country is immune from water challenges.

Let us take this opportunity today to commit to working together to tackle the many challenges around global water security.  Billions of livelihoods depend on it.  Our children and our grandchildren depend on it.  The United States is happy to be part of this effort and I look forward to working with all of you.  Thank you.

U.S. Department of State

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