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Good morning, this is Michelle. The warnings about freshwater resources running dangerously scarce have been piling up in recent years, culminating last month in the first UN Water Conference in nearly 50 years.

But while the meeting gathered around 10,000 people and produced nearly 700 pledges, it’s a captainless ship as political leaders shy away from addressing the water crisis in all its complexities.

In other news, not everyone is pleased with the UN health chief’s recent management shakeup, while Sudanese civilians trapped by the fighting are not getting much-needed humanitarian relief.

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Michelle Langrand


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Inland rivers of St Louis, Senegal, 2016. A joint organisation created by Mali, Senegal and Mauritania in 1972 manages the transboundary Senegal River basin. (Keystone/Mauritious images/Novarc Images/Nicolás Marino)

Where is the political leadership? As the Earth’s freshwater resources dwindle away, millions of people risk being left without access to water and food and entire ecosystems are threatened. The seriousness of those implications was the focus of the recent UN Water Conference held in New York – the first in nearly half a century. For Mark Zeitoun, director general of the Geneva Water Hub, the water world is still lacking political leadership.

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