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Newe Culture Of Relationships Towards Water Security
Vadim Sokolov (Tashkent, Uzbekistan)
Sub-theme 7: Global challenges for water governance,
In recent years, the topic of "water conflicts" and even "water wars" is very popular in mass media. It is alleged that the water becomes a "political weapon", the subject of inter-ethnic, inter-sectoral discord. At the same time, in order to attract public attention to water issues, the terms and expressions are often used that are difficult to interpret as wise. Water has no ethnic, religious or any other affiliation. Behavior change requires at least two things: intellectual understanding of the current problems and absolutely new culture of relationships around water.
In many regions of the world with increased water scarcity today there is no consensus among all stakeholders. This is due to the fact that the efficiency of water management is "cooked" at the fire of ambitions of decision makers defending sometimes conflicting interests of political elites or corporate interests of economic sectors and financial elites. As famous Lebanese philosopher and economist Nassim Taleb noted: "Never before so many people that play safely, in other words, those who are not in danger, they control the society to such an extent as today. The world has never been so rich and never had been weakened so much by debt and life on other people's money. The richer we get, the harder we live within our means." In attention of society to the water problems is not so much due to the recession caused by the world economic crisis, but more because of the decline of the education system in most developing countries, and the degradation of culture and morality in general.
Flame of certain ambitions also come over Central Asia. In particular, the key water problems of the Aral Sea basin are still cooked on this fire. Political and financial elite, despite the existing ambitions in economics and politics, should radically change their attitude to the water issues. A new culture of relationships and behavior towards water may contribute to this change. As a first step in this direction humanity should review and redefine key concepts and categories related to water, on the basis of which it will be possible to build a new line of conduct to prevent water crisis.
The term "conflict" as applied to water has a strong negative understanding in Central Asia. It is associated with the image of violence and is considered as a last resort solution. The expression "disputes over water resources" more accurately describes the perception of domestic and regional issues in the water sector; thus it is proposed to use the term "dispute" when considering the differences in the water sector. Decision-makers must be aware that the water today is not a "political weapon" but "subject to diplomacy." In regards to water there should not be "enemies" but only dialogue among "opponents" to find a consensus. In a dialogue on water - no to recriminations; the parties should have the ability to listen to the opponents and take their arguments.
Human capital is a major factor in the formation and development of innovative economy. At a low level and quality of human capital the investments in any area of the economy do not allow returns. In this context, particularly the water industry needs a strong human capital. The modern world accumulates technical knowledge but the future at that paradoxically becomes less predictable. Nature itself is changing at every step, and every moment modifies its own strategy. Therefore, the water problem is to be solved not just smart but more importantly - wisely. In order to make the world safer from greed, and even benefit from the greed and other potentially dangerous human vices, reasonable and practical actions are required. Wisdom in decision-making is infinitely more important than knowledge. Water can and should be saved and many experts suggest to solve this by introducing economic incentives for water saving, the use of innovative technologies or other rational ways. However, all these measures without the intensification of the human factor towards wisdom will be ineffective. A restructuring of public consciousness with respect to water is required through eliminating the gap between "my" and "our" or "state": through the introduction in the minds of people, especially the younger generation such concepts as "water - the greatest blessing and, at the same time, great value that bestowed upon us", "Mankind like water, is a part of nature, so it cannot be the master nor above Nature or water."
Public consciousness can be changed in the right direction only on the basis of focused, comprehensive and persistent training of people. It should be done on the basis of accumulated knowledge on water, experience in the use of water by our ancestors and contemporaries, not forgetting about past failures and mistakes of past generations in relation to water and nature in general, considering possible future crisis events.
If humanity is reasonable and wise its behavior around water should be based on open for understanding and universally recognized legal norms such as, already widely adopted Traffic Rules. Water Law should not be non-regulatory as it is today, but be compulsory behavior conduct of every person. By "Regulations on Water", people should contain a clear "own skin" mechanism in relation to water.
As famous scientist Ernest Ulrich von Vaytszimmer noted: "The Globe is not enough to satisfy all dreams of constantly growing population on wealth and delicious life. People and the Earth will be saved by not so much saving technologies as sustainable consumption and new labor management." I would add - and a new culture of relationships with an open soul. If we'll be able to open the souls and to overcome ambitions and to climb above the clouds of mistrust because it is always sunny behind the clouds, we will find ourselves in a favorable atmosphere of bright co-existence.
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