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ILO urges better use of water to save lives, create jobs




In view of the crucial role water plays in the socio-economic life of individuals and societies, government at all levels in Nigeria and other stakeholders have been admonished to intensify efforts at ensuring safety, availability and sustainable management of the resources.

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) gave the advice at the 2016 World Water Day celebration in Abuja.

In his remarks at the event, the Director, ILO Country Office for
Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Liaison Office for ECOWAS, Dennis Zulu, said: “The quantity and the quality of water have a direct impact on workers lives and health. Every year, over 340,000 workers die because of inadequate water supply and sanitation. The livelihoods of many workers, such as fishermen, depend on the quality of the freshwater. A farmer’s job depends on his or her ability to manage the available freshwater.

“There is no life without water. The fact that access to water underpins all our efforts to achieve sustainable development is undoubted. What is not so often said is that the availability and sustainable management of water have a clear and direct link with the creation of quality jobs. This year’s World Water Day provides a unique opportunity to highlight this relationship, under the 2016 theme ‘Water and jobs’”.

Zulu noted that in Nigeria, the Federal Government and other key stakeholders decided to celebrate the day under the theme ‘Water and jobs: Potentials in the Water Sector for Sustainable Socio-Economic Development’. “This sub-theme emphasizes the aspiration of the government to ensure a holistic development of Nigeria through effective and efficient use of water resources. Today, almost half of the world’s workers – 1.5 billion – work in water related sectors and nearly all jobs depend on water and those that ensure its safe delivery. Yet millions of these workers are not recognized, or protected by basic labour rights.”

According to the ILO director, “Water can contribute to a greener economy and sustainable development. For this to happen, we need more workers qualified to realize the potential of new, green technologies. We need those workers to have a decent work that provides dignity, equality, safety and a fair income.
“The fact is that water is work – it requires workers for its safe and clean delivery and at the same time it can create work and improve conditions of work. If the 2030 Agenda is to be a success and we are to build together a sustainable future, we must ensure that work in water is decent and that the water we all rely on is safe.”

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