Remarks by Clay Epperson Deputy Mission Director, Media Forum on Water Security and Climate Change

Speeches Shim

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

[As Prepared]

[Greetings]

On behalf of USAID, welcome to this very important and relevant forum. I am very pleased to be part of this gathering of media representatives, government leaders and stakeholders who have come together to address the critical issue of water security.

Water is a foundational element of development. Projections are that by 2025, two-­thirds of the world’s population could be living in severe water stress conditions. To address this need, USAID worldwide has increased its focus on programs that are sustainable, work through host country systems, use emerging science and technology, and build upon lessons learned.

Water security is also one of the strategic priorities of USAID in the Philippines. For the past four years, USAID, through its Water Security for Resilient Economic Growth and Stability or the Be Secure Project, has worked with local governments and water utilities to provide 1.5 million Filipinos access to clean drinking water. We have also helped almost 900,000 Filipinos access improved sanitation.

The challenges, however, are complex. Water security is more than just providing access to water supply and sanitation. It is also about having sufficient water supply, resilient and well-built water and sanitation infrastructure, and a consuming public that uses water efficiently. As the Philippines is highly vulnerable to extreme weather events, it is increasingly more important for policymakers, water utilities, water resource managers, concerned stakeholders, as well as media to have a solid understanding of these complex but interrelated issues. Informed decisions and actions can help avert the recurring cycle of water shortages, especially during the dry season and El Nino periods.

The U.S. government recognizes that media are partners for change. They play an important role in raising awareness on water security issues and solutions. They can be a potent force for educating, informing and inspiring people to take action. Journalism based on verified facts and citizen-centric perspectives can help steer societies to find long-term solutions to development challenges.

USAID is pleased to hold this forum to launch a resource guide for journalists that will help them contribute in various initiatives to achieve the country’s goal of water security. We hope that through this support, the media’s interest in covering, reporting, and communicating water security concerns will endure, and that it will lead to better management, use and conservation of water.

I would like to acknowledge our partners who extended their cooperation with USAID namely, the Department of Public Works and Highways; the local governments of Zamboanga City, Ormoc, Cagayan de Oro, Iloilo, Tacloban, Cotababo, and Isabela, including the water districts and academic institutions in these cities. They are now leading by examples in the areas of sanitation, non-revenue water reduction, water demand management, and youth engagement. Their experiences both inspire and inform the content of the resource guide that will be launched today.

I also would like to thank media representatives from Manila, Iloilo and Zamboanga who supported the development of the resource guide.

Finally, may I acknowledge the Be Secure Project, led by its Chief of Party, Mona Grieser, for all their hard work in keeping media engaged in the challenges and developments in the water sector.

In closing, let me reiterate the U.S. government’s commitment to support the Philippines in achieving the Sustainable Development Goal on water and sanitation, as well as the country’s ultimate goal of universal access to water. We look forward to our continued work with the national and local governments, private sector, civil society organizations, the media, and the communities to help the country achieve long-term water security. Maraming salamat po.

Issuing Country 

Last updated: October 19, 2020

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