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Conference to address health and security implications of global water management

Tampa, FL (May 27, 2011) The challenges and opportunities of sustaining a safe global water supply will be the focus of a University of South Florida College of Public Health conference bringing together international experts from academia, government, the military, non-governmental organizations and the private sector.

Registration is open for the free event, "Security and Stability Partnerships for Water: Their Impact on Health," to be held June 13-15, 2011, at the Alfano Conference and Banquet Center, 11606 N. McKinley Dr., in Tampa. Sessions will cover the geopolitical, cultural, religious, environmental and economic issues affecting global water management, with an emphasis on implications for health.

The World Health Organization estimates that about one in eight people lacks access to safe drinking water, and more than 3.5 million people die yearly from water-related diseases. Increasing, and often competing demands, for fresh water because of population growth, agriculture, industry and changing lifestyles are leading to its increasing scarcity, especially in needy communities.

"As a global community, we need better ways to conserve diminishing freshwater resources so vital to the health of individuals and populations," said conference director Thomas Mason, PhD, USF professor of public health. "USF is committed to providing platforms, like this conference, where experts from various disciplines can address the central role that water plays in the stability of regions and nations. The aim is to develop collaborative activities and policies that foster secure, well managed and shared water resources."

Katherine Bliss, PhD, director of the Project on Global Water Policy for the Washington, DC-based nonprofit Center for Strategic and International Studies, will speak about key elements affecting access to safe drinking water and sanitation, which are recognized by the United Nations as basic human rights. She is the opening keynote speaker in a lineup that includes:

  • Swathi Veeravalli, social scientist at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineering, who will talk about discerning water's role in counterinsurgency operations.

  • Greg Allgood, PhD, director of Procter & Gamble's Children's Safe Drinking Water Program, will discuss the corporation's nonprofit project providing water purification at the household level in developing countries to prevent childhood deaths from contaminated drinking water.

  • Joe Rozza, global water resource sustainability manager, Coca-Cola Co., and Karin Krchnak, senior advisor for international water policy, The Nature Conservancy, will talk about building public-private partnerships for water sustainability. The company recently worked with the conservation organization to assess Coca-Cola's water "footprint" volume of water consumed directly and indirectly to produce a product -- to help inform and improve Coca-Cola's global water stewardship policies.

  • Lt. Col. Monir Akhand, Army of Bangladesh, will discuss seasonal floods, salinity of water, rises in sea-level, cyclones and other water-related issues affecting Bangladesh.

  • Jean-Paul Chretien, MD, PhD, a U.S. Navy physician and epidemiologist working to strengthen global health and security, will speak about the importance of water for health and human security in Helmand Province, Afghanistan


Contact: Thomas J. Mason
University of South Florida (USF Health)

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