Israeli Rotary clubs to host international water symposium
Rotary world president DK Lee and renowned Israeli water experts will discuss solutions to the global water crisis and child mortality due to lack of clean water
TEL AVIV (May 6, 2009) – To help address the growing global water crisis, more than 100 water and agricultural experts and Rotary members from Israel and around the world will attend the “Water Quality in the Service of Welfare” Symposium, set for 10 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. Wednesday, May 6th at the 17th International Agriculture Exhibition "Agritech". The conference is free and open to everyone interested in practical water solutions and sustainable development.
“How appropriate to have this symposium in Israel, one of the leading countries in the world in regards to water technologies,” said Avner Fuchs, the initiator of this event and member of the Rotary Club of Gedera. “Many of us take access to clean water for granted, but today almost every country in the world is facing water related problems and looking for ways to alleviate them.”
Experts will describe the extent of the global crisis, in which more than 1 billion people have no access to safe water, and nearly 2.5 billion lack basic sanitation.
“Every day thousands of children die because they lack access to clean water. Those deaths are absolutely avoidable,” said Rotary International President Dong Kurn Lee, a Korean businessman who has made the fight against child mortality the emphasis of his presidency.
At the day-long conference, Lee will present how Rotary clubs are addressing the water crisis at a grassroots level in cooperation with local stakeholders and international partners. “Rotary is committed to help achieve the UN Millennium Development Goals that call by 2015 for a 50 percent reduction in the number of people with insufficient access to safe water and sanitation and a two third reduction of the under-five child mortality rate,” says Lee.
Other scheduled speakers include Prof. Avner Adin, Founder and Past President of the Israeli Water Association and professor of agriculture at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Prof. Ram Reifen, MD, a medical expert of water-borne diseases; Dr. Sinaia Netanyahu of the TAHAL Group; Prof. Daniel Ronen,IHP of UNESCO-Israel, other distinguished speakers from the academic and industrial sectors of Israel and Dr. Ron Denham, a Rotary leader from Toronto and chair of the Water and Sanitation Rotarian Action Group, an international organization of Rotary club members committed to addressing the water crisis.
Dr. Denham estimates that Rotary clubs are involved in at least 6,000 projects aimed at addressing the lack of access to safe water and sanitation that claims more than two million lives each year, the majority of them children.
“This is a tremendous challenge for humanity, and Rotary clubs are logical leaders in the challenge because they are embedded in their local communities, allowing the clubs to help define realistic solutions to local problems,” said Denham.
The conference will also showcase successful water projects and collaborations throughout the developing world. One of the most successful projects provided more than 18,000 household-sized BioSand Water Filters to communities in the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Honduras. Collaborators include 120 Rotary clubs in Canada, the United States, and several Caribbean countries as well as partner organizations such as International Aid and the Peace Corps.
“These simple and inexpensive filters cost as little as US$60 and can reduce the incidence of diarrhea by up to 40 percent – a dramatic decline in a leading cause of child mortality,” said Rotary International President DK Lee.
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Rotary is a global network of business and professional leaders who provide humanitarian service and help to build goodwill and peace in the world. There are more than 1.2 million Rotary members in over 33,000 clubs in more than 200 countries and geographical regions. Founded in 1905 in Chicago, Rotary is a non-political and non-religious volunteer service organization open to men and women of all races, creeds and cultures.