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Freshwater ecosystems are among the most degraded and threatened ecosystems at the global scale. Given the likelihood that demand for available water resources worldwide will increase in the future, water ecosystem services need to be protected.

In order for humans to live, they need access to fresh water. While nearly 70% of the earth’s surface is water, most of it is salt water, which humans cannot drink. Only a small percentage, about 3%, is fresh water. Of this, about 69% is currently frozen as ice caps and glaciers, while another 30% is held underground in the soil or in rock. This means that only one percent of the world’s fresh water—or 0.03% of the world’s total water—is surface water that humans can access to drink.

The small amount of potable (suitable for drinking) water makes its conservation incredibly important, so that water shortages already occurring in some regions do not spread any further. If they do, this may lead to conflicts over the right to use this water.

There are many ways in which humans can affect access to fresh water. For example, humans can pollute bodies of water, thereby making them undrinkable. In some cases, they may make physical changes to the land by building over wetlands or damming up rivers. While wealthy countries can afford to make the investments necessary to make sure their residents have access to fresh water, poorer countries often cannot. This means that poorer countries are at greater risk of devastating droughts, which can lead both to dehydration and starvation, as the country is unable to water its crops.

Droughts can also have a negative impact on the biodiversity of a region. Around the world, more than 125,000 animal species live entirely in freshwater habitats, including 15,000 species of fish, 4,300 species of amphibians, and 5,000 species of mollusks, such as clams and oysters. Millions of other species, including humans, depend on fresh water to drink.

The world’s population has doubled in the last 50 years. Humanity’s increasing water consumption represents a growing threat to biodiversity.


November 14th 2022
Chile: 04:00 – 05:30 / Egypt: 09:00 – 10:30


This panel will discuss the challenges facing water resources and the need to address them from a multidimensional perspective.


1. Climate and Health Alliance Jeni Miller
2. UCESA Hachim El Ayoubi
3. Université Côte d’Azur Prof. Cécile Sabourault
4. IPCC Thelma Krug
5. PUC Sebastián Vicuña
6. Université Côte d’Azur Prof. Jean-Christophe Martin

Moderator: Carolina Urmeneta, Global Methane Hub.