Julian Shocron notes that water is undoubtedly one, if not the most, crucial natural resource for humanity. Ninety percent of the human body is composed of it, food needs of it in oin the rder to grow, cities are built on its shores, goods are being delivered through it, wars are being waged to defend it, and the list goes on. While the importance of this resource is well acknowledged by the reader, there is a field that has been unexplored until recently by the scholarly: the relation between Water and Jobs.
UNESCO pioneered in this field while publishing in 2016 under its series of United Nations World Water Development Report, a report entitled: Water and Jobs. This disrupting report comprehensively elaborates on the strong intersection between employment and water and reaches the astonishing statistic that three out of four jobs worldwide are water dependent. At the same time, the World Economic Forum announced in January 2015 that the water crisis is the #1 global risk based on impact to society (as a measure of devastation). Combining these two elements clearly shows the devastating effects that a water crisis can have on jobs in a global level and raises a need for research in this field to minimize the current damage of global warming on this field and avoid major future crises. This article by Julian Shocron will look at this phenomenon in a region of the world barely analyzed by the scholarly: Latin America.
Julian Shocran on Why Latin America?
While the report “Water and Jobs”, as the main source on this field, elaborates on the strong intersection between Jobs and Water in most of the regions in the world, it barely touches upon the issue in an area heavily dependent on this resource: Latin America. Julian Shocron understands that not enough research has been done on the effects of investment in water infrastructure on job creation in Latin America. Researching this fields in the midst of a future global water crisis is essential in order to predict the effects that such a crisis can have on jobs and raise awareness on how investment in water infrastructure can avoid the loss of thousands of jobs in the region.
Moreover, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Latin America and the Caribbean are the most urbanized regions under development in the world. The urbanization rate in Latin America and the Caribbean reach 78% and it is predicted to grow to 88% by 2050. At the same time 120 million inhabitants in urban areas in Latin America alone lack access to potable water, while 150 million lack adequate sanitary services. This rapid increase in the population raises a red alarm on the future availability of the resource and its consequent impact on jobs.
Considering the importance of this natural resource and its significant social impact and in the context of a global water crisis and an apparent lack of research of this field in Latin America, begs the question:
What is the impact of investment in water infrastructure on jobs in Latin America? and How is this expected to change in a future green economy?
Julian Shocron believes as seen in other regions in the world, investment in water infrastructure plays an important role in job creation, both direct while investing in infrastructure and indirect by creating the conditions to generate jobs in the future. At the same time, Latin America, despite holding 1/3 of the world water resources, is experiencing a crisis of water management which negatively affects job creation. In this context, it is understood that in order to face future effects of the crisis on jobs, investment in water infrastructure is essential in the region.