Business / Economy

World Water Council, OECD call for global action on financing water infrastructure

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-04-14 10:43

DAEGU - The World Water Council and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development ( OECD) on Monday called on policymakers and business leaders to address financing water infrastructure to provide water security to meet the demands of the global population and global economy.

The World Water Council (WWC) and OECD on Monday officially launched the report "Water: Fit to Finance?" during the World Water Forum, emphasizing the increasing need for public and private partnerships to promote the construction of major water infrastructure schemes.

They pointed out that with the increasing use of water for all kinds of activities agriculture, industry and energy water infrastructure needs to be multi-purpose. But water infrastructure projects have long been marginalized compared with other infrastructure investment.

The WWC and OECD said the investment in water infrastructure is quite necessary today as water supply and sanitation alone are expected to require $6.7 trillion by 2050.

"In the last decade water has gained increased attention in the global political agenda. Yet despite the fact that financing for the water sector can easily be justified by the pressing need to adapt to global changes including climate, population growth and urbanization, investment in water infrastructure is under- developed. Globally we are simply not doing enough," said Benedito Braga, President of the WWC.

He urged the international community to grasp the big picture connected to water and bring together investors, bankers, economic players and public officials to tackle the infrastructure deficit in new and creative ways.

Braga also told Xinhua that Chinese banks are playing a very important role in financing the water infrastructures as China is financing almost 400 dams and reservoirs in countries around the world.

When talking about the China-proposed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), Braga said it was very good initiatives of the Chinese government to propose this infrastructure bank as it will not only be financing infrastructure, but also very strict in following rules of minimized effects to the environment.

Angel Gurra, the OECD Secretary-General added that governments need to think harder about coordinating the timing of different water investments, maximizing their efficiency and being ready to exploit new sources of financing.

The WWC and OECD added that evidence shows that existing financial sources such as pension funds, insurance companies, Sovereign Wealth Funds, climate funds and Green bonds are enough to offer newer source of funds to finance the full range of products, services and functions needed for global water security.

The World Water forum, which was held every three years organized by the World Water Council, is the world's largest water- related forum. It brings together around 35,000 world leaders, business people and experts to discuss water challenge this year.

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