Mission Viejo High School Model United Nations 30th Annual

Mission Viejo High School Model United Nations
30 Annual Conference
“Initium Novum”
Topic Synopsis Format
Novice (Committee, Fresh Water)
I. Background of Topic
Over 70% of our Earth's surface is covered by water. Although water is seemingly
abundant, the real issue is the amount of fresh water that is available. Only 97.5% of all water on
Earth is salt water, leaving only 2.5% as fresh water. Nearly seventy percent of that fresh water is
frozen in the icecaps of Antarctica and Greenland. Most of the other thirty percent is present as
soil moisture, or lies in deep underground aquifers as groundwater not accessible to human
use. Less than 1% of the world's fresh water, approximately 0.007% of all water on earth, is
accessible for direct human uses. This includes water found in lakes, rivers, reservoirs and
underground sources that are shallow enough to be accessed at an affordable cost. Only this
amount is regularly renewed by rain and snowfall, and is therefore available on a sustainable
basis. Agriculture is responsible for 87 % of the total water used globally. In Asia it accounts for
86% of total annual water obtained, compared with 49% in North and Central America and 38%
in Europe. Rice growing, in particular, is a heavy consumer of water. It takes about 5000 liters of
water to produce 1 kg of rice. Compared with other crops, rice production is less efficient in the
way it uses water. Wheat, for example, consumes “4000 m3/ha, while rice consumes 7650
m3/ha” (Gleik 3)
II. UN Involvement
The United Nations has long been addressing the global crisis caused by the lack of water
to satisfy basic human needs and growing demands on the world’s water resources to meet said
needs. The United Nations Water Conference (1977), the International Drinking Water Supply
and Sanitation Decade (1981-1990), the International Conference on Water and the
Environment (1992) and the Earth Summit (1992) have all focused on this vital resource. This
Decade, in particular, helped some 1.3 billion people in developing countries gain access to safe
drinking water. One of the most important recent milestones has been the recognition in July
2010 by the United Nations General Assembly of the human right to water and sanitation. The
Assembly recognized the right of every human being to have access to sufficient water for
personal and domestic uses, which must be safe, acceptable and affordable, and physically
accessible. Water is crucially important to many aspects of human health, development and well
being led to the inclusion of a specific water-related target in the Millennium Development
Goals. At the same time, every target of the MDGs depends on the achievement of the water and
sanitation target: eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, achieving universal primary education,
promoting gender equality and empowering women, reducing child mortality, improving
maternal health, combating HIV, AIDS, malaria and other diseases, and ensuring environmental
Mission Viejo High School Model United Nations
30 Annual Conference
“Initium Novum”
III. Possible Solutions
Here are some basic solutions to the problem of freshwater. An improvement in the
efficiency of water use is one proposal. Irrigation systems are often performed poorly
and as a result this wastes up to 60 percent of the total water pumped before it reaches
the intended crop. Efficient management and modern technology can improve this
machine and more than double the water production. “Israel, for example, supports its
population, its growing industrial base, with less than 500 cubic meters of water per
person per year” (Rekacewicz 5). Water is often wasted because it is underpriced.
Direct and indirect subsidies, especially for agricultural use, are still common in both
developed and developing countries. Removing such subsidies and letting water
prices rise can provide incentives for conservation and for the investments needed to
spread more efficient technologies.
IV. Bloc Positions
1. Typically those who consume the most freshwater also are the biggest exporters
of it so there is no geographical correlation between different blocks.
V. Guiding Questions
1. How do we get fresh water to those who need it?
2. What are the nations that require the most access to fresh water?
3. Why is the access to fresh water so important?
4. What could the consequences be to those who cannot access fresh water?