Dr Benoît Girardin
, presently a lecturer at the Geneva School of Diplomacy and International Relations and co-editor of both publications was invited to present his work and explain the experiences which led him to undertake this project.
Dr Ignace Haaz, Globethics.net Publications Manager, and Dr Obiora Ike, Globethics.net Executive Director, opened the event. Obiora stressed the role of organisations towards influencing action. He shared the concern Globethics.net has an organisation about the importance of water and its accessibility for the development of societies. For this reason, he highlighted that Globethics.net has not only shared among its network these two books, but it has endorsed 'Water Ethics: Principles and Guidelines'.
During the event, Benoît explained how this book project started some years ago with the gathering of some experts on a workshop which was repeated annually. These workshops aimed to bring together a range of knowledge on differents issues concerning water and to find solutions. The outcomes of these encounters were published in a small collection of 10 booklets, accessible only to the local people. These booklets were later transformed into the two books launched at the event.
Benoît emphasised the importance of understanding the economics of water to be able to understand how and who should manage the water, which is explained in the book 'Water Ethics: Principles and Guidelines'. This book is then complimented by the collection of statements in 'Blue Ethics: Ethical Perspective on Sustainable, Fair Water Resources and Guidelines'.
During the even, the conversation among the participants focused on two topics: the management of water, and how some countries use contaminated water; and the conflict over water control, and how countries through the use of dams control the water flow and access between regions. Additionally, Benoît reflected on water footprints and the dilemma of water-abundant countries importing goods, typically fruit and vegetables, that are water-intensive to produce, from countries afflected by water distress.
The event concluded with a clear message, society and, in particular, institutions need to wake up and start to work together to find solutions as water is an increasingly pressing issue that may cause conflict in the future.