C20 Working Group On Revival Of Rivers & Water Management
About G20 & C20

G20 is the global grouping of the 19 individual countries with the largest economies and the European Union. The Civil20 (C20) is one of the official Engagement Groups of the G20 that provides a platform for Civil Society Organizations (CSO) around the world to voice the people’s aspirations to the world leaders in G20. It gives CSOs a forum to protect the agency of this sector, reflect the primary and common concerns affecting the world’s peoples, and to promote social and economic development with the vision of leaving no one behind.

Sri M, the founder of The Satsang Foundation, was invited to the C20 Steering Committee, the executive body of the C20 responsible for ensuring that the C20 is an open and diverse space that facilitates the transmission of a broad range of civil society views to the G20. Also, under Sri M’s guidance, a Working Group was formed to focus on the Revival of Rivers and Water Management, which has been anchored by The Satsang Foundation.

Why is it critical for G20 to focus on Water?

Water is a basic survival need of all life forms, and Rivers are the bloodstream of human civilization. Freshwater forms a tiny fraction of all water on our planet, and its availability is being rapidly depleted due to unsustainable human activity, including competitive demands from agriculture, industry, energy production and basic human consumption that put pressure on overground resources and underground reservoirs. Damage is being caused by the contamination of water bodies and the drying up of several once-perennial rivers, while dramatic climate changes in rainfall are causing floods and droughts. There is potentially widespread ecological, social, and economic chaos due to “Water Wars” and millions of climate refugees in the future.

There is an urgent need for a globally replicable and scalable framework built on consensus, combining economic and ecological sustainability, combining indigenous wisdom, sound technology and robust sociological and governance processes to create a water-sustainable future for all

Working Group Policy Recommendations to the G20 Leadership

The C20 Working Group on Revival of Rivers and Water Management worked through multiple rounds of iterative consultations among CSOs, technical experts and policymakers, to develop the Policy Recommendations for the Leadership of G20. The Policy Document and the Annexures can be requested here:

"The G20 must come together to urgently tackle the mounting water scarcity and pollution crisis which has the potential to lead to large-scale conflicts and long-term social, ecological and economic disasters."

Executive Summary

The G20 must come together to urgently tackle the mounting water scarcity and pollution crisis which has the potential to lead to large-scale conflicts and long-term social, ecological and economic disasters.

The C20 2023 Working Group on Revival of Rivers and Water Management emphasizes an ecology-centric approach, stakeholder involvement, and international cooperation to ensure the preservation and proper management of rivers and water bodies. The Working Group focused on the sub-themes of river rejuvenation, water management and conservation, and disaster management (floods and droughts).

The Working Group urges the G20 to commit to preserving and sustaining the natural flow and self-purification capacity of rivers. The Working Group has urged governments to exercise stewardship over water resources as a common good which includes obtaining citizens’ consent for activities affecting water resources, preventing environmentally unsustainable projects, and ensuring water education in school curricula to promote awareness, conservation, and responsible use of water. States are encouraged to include native, traditional, and indigenous communities and integrate their knowledge and practices.

The G20 is called upon to leverage technology for the identification, management, monitoring, and dissemination of information about water systems. Such data must be made publicly available and accessible to citizens for their active participation in water protection and judicious use. Additionally, the G20 must facilitate technology and know-how transfers for effective disaster management related to floods and droughts. Exemplary success stories from around the world provide valuable insights. Cross-border knowledge-sharing to help in the replication of best practices among G20 states is needed to prevent climate-induced migration and water conflicts.

The G20 is urged to incorporate environmental factors and ecological sustainability in valuing water resources, including implementing the “polluter pays principle” for accountability on water pollution and ecosystem degradation, the “user pays principle” to ensure that the cost of water usage reflects its full life cycle costs and legally-binding obligations on large-scale users to maintain or restore ecological conditions and prevent short-term economic exploitation.

By implementing these recommendations, the G20 can play a crucial role in restoring and maintaining freshwater availability and avoiding water wars, ensuring a sustainable future for all.

About The Satsang Foundation

Over the years, Sri M’s efforts as a social reformer and educationist have given rise to many successful initiatives in the sectors of Education, Health & Wellness, Community Welfare, Sustainable Living, Environment, Interfaith Harmony, Peace and Exploring Consciousness.

TSF Environment Initiatives

Two key environmental initiatives of The Satsang Foundation are:

  • MyTree: Inspired by the Sanskrit word – Maitri – meaning amity, MyTree has been running tree-planting drives, awareness campaigns, and Mytree Kids camps across the country. Collaboration with the community, the local government, schools, universities, institutions, religious institutions, etc. has resulted in planting trees and in sensitizing the community.
  • The Satsang Jal Seva Sangatan (SJSS): Inspired by Sri M’s urgent call to promote and implement Rainwater Harvesting & Water Conservation nationwide, the Satsang Foundation has initiated the Satsang Jal Seva Sangatan (SJSS). The aim of this initiative is to ensure that every household and institution in India utilizes water efficiently and helps to recharge the natural ecosystem. Our vision is for every Indian city to be self-sufficient in its water needs.
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