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Davos highlights urgency to tackle water shortage
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Dow Chemical CEO Andrew Liveris (L) talks with Nestle CEO Peter Brabeck-Letmathe during a session on "Time Is Running Out for Water" at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos January 24, 2008.

Global crises from escalating demand for fresh water and inadequate supply are as urgent as efforts to tackle climate change, the World Economic Forum annual meeting heard on Thursday.

A panel including UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told international business CEOs and civil society leaders assembled in Davos that water stress poses a risk to economic growth, human rights, health, safety and national security.

"The challenge of securing safe and plentiful water for all is one of the most daunting challenges faced by the world today," said Ban.

"The solution to water is more complex than the solution to climate change," added Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, chairman and CEO of the Swiss Nestle Group.

But the panelists agreed the challenge could be solved, especially through collaborative approaches of all sectors.

"Isolated action by us will not solve the problem. Instead, we need to change attitudes and new institutions to set the right incentives so that water use becomes more efficient across the world and across all sectors," said Brabeck-Letmathe.

"When society faces global challenges like water scarcity, we all need to come together to leverage our indicitual efforts," echoed Neville Isdell, chairman and CEO of Coca-Cola company.     

(Xinhua News Agency January 25, 2008)

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