Energy & Environment

Harris unveils plan to ‘elevate’ water security in foreign policy

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Vice President Harris

Vice President Harris on Wednesday announced a plan that aims to “elevate” water security as a national security issue. 

She said that the plan would involve “fully committing” the U.S. to helping provide access to safe water and sanitation services around the world by sharing “world-leading” water data to help manage and preserve water resources and using diplomatic resources to “elevate water security” as an international priority.

“This action plan will help our country prevent conflict and advance cooperation among nations, increase equity and economic growth and make our world more inclusive and resilient,” she said. 

A copy of the plan said that it would also involve “identifying and supporting” investment funds to connect communities with resources to help them pay for water and sanitation and using government agencies to provide loans and political risk insurance to support private sector investment in water, sanitation and hygiene. 

It will also involve developing new climate-friendly technology for water desalination and recovering water resources and working on initiatives with the Group of Seven, the Group of 20 and the United Nations. 

Harris has been vocal about water and other infrastructure issues and has sought to promote the administration’s efforts on these issues.

In her speech, Harris noted that water insecurity can drive migration and also result in armed conflict amid disputes between countries or communities over water resources.

Her speech comes as the U.S. faces a water issues  of its own, with 76 percent of the West facing at least severe drought. 

Worldwide, water scarcity is a major issue, with four billion people experiencing scarcity for at least one month each year, according to UNICEF.

Updated at 12:59 p.m.

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