Austria Presse Agentur | UNEP | Is There Really a Solution For Droughts?

October 14th, 2019 | In the United Nations Environmental Programme, many solutions to the problem of droughts were proposed. However, there are many gaps to the plethora of solutions that were proposed by each country. Questions arose, such as how can the United Nations get the funding to help those around the world who are in need? How can the United Nations educate, and what will they teach the developing and developed countries? How is the funding getting to the targeted areas? How is the United Nations going to put new systems in place?

In a program known as the Drought Responsive Informative Programs (DRIPS), the countries of Israel, Indonesia, the Dominican Republic, Spain, India, Tanzania, Greece, South Africa, and more strategically plan and answer these questions. While many countries plan to use Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) as their main financial resource, they are not meant specifically for funding big projects like these. With a system like DRIPS, the UN will use funding and donations from developed countries, and they will not focus on raising awareness (as they already have prior awareness of the situation at hand). By planting trees and building infrastructure, their goal is so reduce the consumption of water per country. The countries associated with DRIPS will continue to come up with solutions that will focus on being more prepared to have systems in place for the future.

While many countries in this committee have proposed the idea of desalination, the price is costly. Desalination is the process of converting saltwater into freshwater for the consumption commercially or agriculturally. However, the technology required for this is only accessible to more developed countries or those who are more financially stable.

China and Lebanon suggested reverse osmosis. It is said that it can “reduce waste by 75% and energy by 35%”, and it saves money and allows for rapid payback within months. Reverse osmosis is the water purification process that uses a partially permeable membrane to remove unwanted particles from the water source. China plans to get this funding through the Blue Planet Network Organization. Even though many countries mentioned NGOs as a source of funding, they are not able to fund projects like these on their own.

After listening to discussions, the United States of America believes that separating issues by developing and developed countries will do nothing. However, by reusing water “9% of pollutants will be removed”. The idea of reusable water can come in many forms. Kuwait wishes to implement a wastewater treatment plan and use the gray water for agriculture, rather than treating it as wastewater.

Widely considered, education was a topic that was largely debated. While some countries opposed this (as they feel they already know about these issues), other countries rebutted by mentioning that people do not know how to solve these problems. Some countries believed that even with education in place, it will not reduce water consumption. Canada mentioned that the citizens have to be aware of what is going on around them to be able to prevent future droughts. While the other countries talked about the plans, reforms, or donating, many are left unaware of what is happening. Education is key, whether they are a developed or developing nation, and it must be accessible to everyone. Australia had brought up the use of social media to spread the news to the youth as well. Each country has their own problems with droughts, and their solutions should be specified and made for that individual country. For example, Iran has an arid climate which is not the same as other territories. Not every country has the same issues in regards to drought whether it involves climate, politics, or cultural beliefs.

It is important to keep in mind that the options presented vary by country. Factors such as cultural beliefs, national sovereignty, conflict of war, and the environment all play a role in developing the solution for drought.