STOCKHOLM (AP) — Thousands of scientists and experts urged world leaders Friday to include strategies for global water management in the planned Copenhagen climate agreement.
Participants at the World Water Week conference said climate change will severely affect water supplies and poorer countries need support to help them adapt.
"At the moment the water issue doesn't get enough attention in the climate negotiations," Anders Berntell, head of the Stockholm International Water Institute, told The Associated Press. "To be effective, climate negotiations must factor in the impact and importance of water for the world and, indeed, human well-being."
After several rounds of global talks, world leaders will be meeting in December in the Danish capital, Copenhagen, with the aim of reaching a new accord to replace the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.
Berntell said water issues are of primary importance because it plays such a fundamental role in economies, communities, and public health.
"When you change the availability of water, you change the prerequisites for farming — the possibility to feed this planet — and you change the possibilities for energy production, forestry and industries," he said.
Scientists at the weeklong conference also demanded more effective use of water across borders and called for better cooperation between officials involved in land and forest management, climate questions and water issues.
Friday's appeal ended a weeklong conference of more than 2,500 scientists, politicians and officials in the Swedish capital.