of water,energy,could cause wars: Gorbachev|
Roberta Mancuso, AAP News.
worldwide lack of water and energy supplies could spark
wars, warns former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev.
Delivering the opening address at the Earth Dialogues
forum in Brisbane today, Mr Gorbachev said resources such
as water had become so scarce that basins of major rivers
shared by several countries could one day become sites
of military conflict. "Clean drinking water, and
water that can be used for irrigation, is in short supply
in many countries, even today," Mr Gorbachev said.
"In 2001, secretary general of the UN (United Nations),
Kofi Annan, said that in the new century we may see wars
over water, rather than over oil, and that is not an exaggeration.
probable site for military conflicts could be basins of major rivers that are
shared by several countries, such as (the) Ganges, Mekong ... Zambesi, the Orange
River, Okavango, Senegal and others." Mr Gorbachev said another potential
source of conflict was the Husbani River, which begins in southern Lebanon, a
country currently experiencing a water shortage, and runs into Israel.
three-day forum explores issues such as climate change, human development, economic
growth and poverty. Mr Gorbachev, who won a Nobel prize in 1990 for his contribution
to ending the Cold War, said despite an increasing lack of resources "we
are still acting in a very wasteful way". "This is of great concern.
It is a problem that basically comes down to the future of mankind," he said.
Mr Gorbachev said by 2020 the "water crisis" would spread across half
the world, leaving many countries without drinking water and proper sanitation.
kind of situation could only result in a global cataclysm," he said. Mr Gorbachev,
the head of environmental group Green Cross International, was also critical over
the lack of time being spent finding alternative energy resources, saying too
much time had been wasted in the development of solar energy. "The position
of Green Cross International calls for accelerated use of renewable sources of
energy, in particular solar energy," Mr Gorbachev said. "At the same
time, we are calling for serious and effective steps to more efficiently use the
traditional sources of energy."