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Churches urged to counter threat to water, cradle of life

21 February 2006

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The Ninth Assembly of the World Council of Churches, meeting in Porto Alegre, Brazil, 14-23 February, has called on churches and ecumenical partners to work together to preserve and protect water resources against over-consumption and pollution.

In a statement approved today the Assembly described water as "an integral part of the right to life".

The statement on "Water for Life" drew on the demand of the Ecumenical Patriarch, Bartholomew, Archbishop of Constantinople and New Rome, that water never be treated as private property and that "indifference towards the vitality of water constitutes both a blasphemy to God the Creator and a crime against humanity".

The Assembly said "access to freshwater supplies is becoming an urgent matter across the planet. The survival of 1.2 billion people is currently in jeopardy due to lack of adequate water and sanitation."

It said, "Agreements concerning international watercourses and river basins need to be more concrete, setting out measures to enforce treaties made and incorporating detailed conflict resolution mechanisms in case disputes erupt".

Other public issues - on Latin America, vulnerable populations, terrorism and human rights, and reform of the United Nations - will be considered by the Assembly on 22 February.

The full text of the "Statement on Water for life" is available atwww.wcc-assembly.info/en/theme-issues/assembly-documents/plenary-presentations/committee-reports/public-issues-committee/water-for-life-statement.html

Assembly website:www.wcc-assembly.info

Contact in Porto Alegre:+55 / 51 8419.2169