UN water expert says disasters are learning opportunity for climate change

  • 03.09.2022
  • La Prensa Latina

At a time when drought and floods are becoming the new normal, Henk Ovink, United Nations Special Envoy for International Waters Affairs, stresses that natural disasters are an “X-ray” that exposes human problems from which we can learn to better tackle the climate crisis.

This is what this Dutch specialist, who advised former U.S. President Barack Obama after the impact of Hurricane Sandy in 2012, said in an interview with EFE during World Water Week 2022, which is currently being held in the Swedish capital.

Ovink, who also worked in Peru after the 2017 floods, stresses that Latin America can exert a “collective force” to put water security on the agenda and, at the same time, “relearn history” shared by communities, where “water always was and remains part of the culture on how to develop economies.”

In this sense, he believes that, with the region being particularly vulnerable to floods and other water-related natural disasters – the frequency and virulence of which, he says, have been aggravated by the climate crisis – it can seize the opportunity that disasters provide to “rethink and embrace the future.”