A- A A+

UN forum to coordinate global efforts to address worsening water shortages

With extreme weather costing hundreds of billions a year and fears that by 2050, one in four people will be living in a country affected by severe water shortages, a global conference got underway on Monday convened by the United Nations meteorological agency to manage the precious resource more sustainably.

The problem has been further complicated by a lack of comprehensive water supply data and monitoring systems which is making it harder to respond to the growing crisis.

We cannot manage what we do not measure,” said Harry Lins, the President of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Commission for Hydrology.

“And yet the systems and data collection which underpin these vital services to society are under real pressure,” he added, underscoring that informed decision-making must be based on comprehensive facts and figures.

This sums up the key challenge underlying the agency’s HydroConference, taking place in Geneva from 7-9 May, is seeking to address.

It brings together the full gamut of so-called “water stakeholders” – decision makers, meteorological and hydrological services; the private and academic sector; non-governmental organizations, and UN entities – around the same table to coordinate efforts as well as leverage individual knowledge and collective expertise to maximum effect.

WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said it was important for all actors to cope with the scale of the challenges that lie ahead, citing the two extremes of droughts and floods.

student read icon

 

[ read the full story on UN News ]

 


 Water Facts:

World Water Decade Logo Horizontal

 

The General Assembly resolution 71/222 states that the objectives of the Decade should be a greater focus on:

  • the sustainable development and integrated management of water resources for achievement of social, economic and environmental objectives;
  • the implementation and promotion of related programmes and projects; and
  • the furtherance of cooperation and partnerships at all levels to achieve internationally agreed water-related goals and targets, including those in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Source: United Nations Secretary-General’s Plan: Water Action Decade 2018-2028

WAD 1 safe drinking water EN    WAD 3 water conservation EN    WAD 4 water rivers seas pollution EN
Read more...

Remarks at launch of International Decade for Water Action 2018-2028

I am pleased to be with you on World Water Day to launch the International Decade for Action on Water for Sustainable Development.

I commend President Rahmon of Tajikstan for spearheading this effort at the General Assembly. 

I recall my trip to Tajikistan last year, when I had the opportunity to see the impact of receding glaciers in the Pamir mountains.

During my visit, I also had the chance to attend the forum on the Sustainable Development Goals.

And it is clear these 17 global Goals are inter-related, interdependent and mutually reinforcing.

Safe water and adequate sanitation for all – the object of Sustainable Development Goal 6 -- are indispensable to achieve many other goals. 

Safe water and adequate sanitation underpin poverty reduction, economic growth and healthy ecosystems. 

They contribute to social well-being, inclusive growth and sustainable livelihoods.

But, growing demands for water, coupled with poor water management, have increased water stress in many parts of the world.

Climate change is adding to the pressure – and it is running faster than we are.

With demand for freshwater projected to grow by more than 40 per cent by the middle of the century, and with climate change having a growing impact, water scarcity is an enormous concern.

By 2050 at least one in four people will live in a country where the lack of fresh water will be chronic or recurrent. 

Without effective management of our water resources, we risk intensified disputes between communities and sectors and even increased tensions among nations.

So far, water has historically proven to be a catalyst for cooperation not for conflict.

From my own experience, the Albufeira Convention, agreed during my time as Prime Minister of Portugal, continues to promote good relations on water management between Spain and Portugal. 

And, there are many more examples of cooperation on water – between India and Pakistan, Bolivia and Peru, and several others.

But we cannot take peace – or our precious and fragile water resources -- for granted.  

Quite simply, water is a matter of life and death.

Our bodies are 60 per cent water.

Our cities, our industries and our agriculture all depend on it.

Yet, today, 40 per cent of the world’s people are affected by water scarcity; 80 per cent of wastewater is discharged untreated into the environment, and more than 90 per cent of disasters are water-related. 

More than 2 billion people lack access to safe water, and more than 4.5 billion people lack adequate sanitation services. 

What these numbers mean is a harsh daily reality for people in rural communities and urban slums in all regions of the world.

Many of the most serious diseases in the developing world are directly related to unsafe drinking water, poor sanitation, and insufficient hygiene practices.   

Today, I am using the launch of the Water Action Decade to make a global call to action for water, sanitation and hygiene – or WASH -- in allhealth care facilities. 

A recent survey of 100,000 facilities found that more than half lack simple necessities, such as running water and soap - and they are supposed to be healthcare facilities.

The result is more infections, prolonged hospital stays and sometimes death.

We must work to prevent the spread of disease. Improved water, sanitation and hygiene in health facilities is critical to this effort.

Ladies and gentlemen,We cannot continue to take water for granted and expect to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.Solutions exist and new technologies are in the pipeline to improve how we manage water for nations, communities and households. But often these solutions are inaccessible for those who need them most, perpetuating inequity within and among countries. 

As with most development challenges, women and girls suffer disproportionately. For example, women and girls in low-income countries spend some 40 billion hours a year collecting water.That is equivalent to the annual effort of the entire workforce of a country like France. The time spent could be much better invested in earning a livelihood or – in the case of girls – attending school. It is time to change how we value and manage water. 

Last week, the High-Level Panel on Water delivered its outcome report, “Making every drop count: An agenda for water action”.Their work is deep, serious and inspiring for us all. 

The United Nations stands ready to help countries to implement the Panel’s recommendations, including by promoting policy dialogue, exchanging best practices, raising awareness and forging partnerships.  Member States have also asked me to prepare an Action Plan for the Water Decade, with the support of UN-Water – which I am determined to strengthen. 

My plan sets forth three core objectives.  

First, to transform our silo-based approach to water supply, sanitation, water management and disaster risk reduction to better tackle water stress, combat climate change and enhance resilience.

Second, to align existing water and sanitation programmes and projects with the 2030 Agenda. 

Third, to generate the political will for strengthened cooperation and partnerships.

I look forward to implementing this plan.The growing water crisis should be much higher on the world’s radar.   

Let us work collectively towards a more sustainable world, and an action-packed Decade of “Water for Sustainable Development”.

Thank you.

Read more...

UN Chronicle - highlights global quest for water

“The Quest for Water” focuses on ensuring availability and sustainable management of water for all. The articles explore important issues such as ecosystems in the global water cycle, the threat that climate change poses to water availability, and the role of gender and social inclusion in achieving the water-related goals and targets. This issue of the digital magazine of the UN system “buoys” the launch of the International Decade for Action, “Water for Sustainable Development”, 2018-2028.

reading  [ read more here

 

Read more...

Water Facts and Figures

  • POSTER household WWD2017 EngThis year, we focus on wastewater and ways to reduce and reuse as over 80% of all the wastewater from our homes, cities, industry and agriculture flows back to nature polluting the environment and losing valuable nutrients and other recoverable materials.

    We need to improve the collection and treatment of wastewater and safely reuse it. At the same time, we need to reduce the quantity and pollution load of wastewater we produce, to help protect the environment and our water resources.

    Sustainable Development Goal 6 – ensuring availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by 2030 - includes a target to halve the proportion of untreated wastewater and increase water recycling and safe reuse.

    UN Water

    UN-Water is the United Nations inter-agency coordination mechanism for all freshwater related issues, including sanitation.
    Building on a long history of coordination in the UN System, UN-Water was formalized in 2003 by the United Nations High Level Committee on Programmes. It provides the platform to address the cross-cutting nature of water and maximize system-wide coordinated action and coherence. UN-Water promotes coherence in, and coordination of, UN system actions aimed at the implementation of the agenda defined by the Millennium Declaration and the World Summit on Sustainable Development as it relates to its scope of work. Through UN-Water the United Nations act as "One UN".
    The scope of UN-Water’s work encompasses all aspects of freshwater, including surface and groundwater resources and the interface between fresh and sea water.

     

     

  • POSTER cities WWD2017 Eng
    • Globally, over 80% of the wastewater generated by society flows back into the ecosystem without being treated or reused
    • 1.8 billion people use a source of drinking water contaminated with faeces, putting them at risk of contracting cholera, dysentery, typhoid and polio. Unsafe water, poor sanitation and hygiene cause around 842,000 deaths each year.
    • 663 million people still lack improved drinking water sources.
    • By 2050, close to 70% of the world’s population will live in cities, compared to 50% today5. Currently, most cities in developing countries do not have adequate infrastructure and resources to address wastewater management in an efficient and sustainable way.
    •  The opportunities from exploiting wastewater as a resource are enormous. Safely managed wastewater is an affordable and sustainable source of water, energy, nutrients and other recoverable materials. 
    •  The costs of wastewater management are greatly outweighed by the benefits to human health, economic development and environmental sustainability – providing new business opportunities and creating more ‘green’ jobs.
    • Every day, 2 million tons of human wastes are disposed of in watercourses, and in developing countries 70 % of industrial wastes are dumped untreated into waters where they pollute the usable water supply
    • 70% of the global water withdrawals go to agriculture. The world population is expected to rise from 7 billion people today to 9 billion in 2050, leading to a 60% increase of the food needed globally and a 19% increase of agricultural water consumption.
  • Water and sanitation are at the very core of sustainable development, critical to the survival of people and the planet. Goal 6 not only addresses the issues relating to drinking water, sanitation and hygiene, but also the quality and sustainability of water resources worldwide.


     Targets

    6

    By 2030, achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all

    By 2030, achieve access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all and end open defecation, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations 

    By 2030, improve water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping and minimizing release of hazardous chemicals and materials, halving the proportion of untreated wastewater and substantially increasing recycling and safe reuse globally 

    By 2030, substantially increase water-use efficiency across all sectors and ensure sustainable withdrawals and supply of freshwater to address water scarcity and substantially reduce the number of people suffering from water scarcity 


    By 2030, implement integrated water resources management at all levels, including through transboundary cooperation as appropriate

    By 2020, protect and restore water-related ecosystems, including mountains, forests, wetlands, rivers, aquifers and lakes 

    By 2030, expand international cooperation and capacity-building support to developing countries in water- and sanitation-related activities and programmes, including water harvesting, desalination, water efficiency, wastewater treatment, recycling and reuse technologies 



  • Oceans, along with coastal and marine resources, play an essential role in human well-being and social and economic development worldwide. They are particularly crucial for people living in coastal communities, who represented 37 per cent of the global population in 2010. Oceans provide livelihoods and tourism benefits, as well as subsistence and income. They also help regulate the global ecosystem by absorbing heat and carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and protecting coastal areas from flooding and erosion. In fact, coastal and marine resources contribute an estimated $28 trillion to the global economy each year through ecosystem services. However, those resources are extremely vulnerable to environmental degradation, overfishing, climate change and pollution.


     Targets

    Goal 14

    By 2025, prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient 

    pollution 

    By 2020, sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems to avoid significant adverse impacts, including by strengthening their resilience, and take action for their restoration in order to achieve healthy and productive oceans 

    By 2020, effectively regulate harvesting and end overfishing, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and destructive fishing practices and implement science-based management plans, in order to restore fish stocks in the shortest time feasible, at least to levels that can produce maximum sustainable yield as determined by their biological characteristics 

    By 2020, conserve at least 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas, consistent with national and international law and based on the best available scientific information 

    By 2020, prohibit certain forms of fisheries subsidies which contribute to overcapacity and overfishing, eliminate subsidies that contribute to illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and refrain from introducing new such subsidies, recognizing that appropriate and effective special and differential treatment for developing and least developed countries should be an integral part of the World Trade Organization fisheries subsidies negotiation 

    By 2030, increase the economic benefits to Small Island developing States and least developed countries from the sustainable use of marine resources, including through sustainable management of fisheries, aquaculture and tourism 


Read more...
Subscribe to this RSS feed

Contact

Email: unic.portofspain@unic.org 

Telephone: 1(868) 623 8438 or 623 4813

Fax: 1 (868) 623 4332 

Address: 

2nd Floor Bretton Hall, 16 Victoria Avenue, 

Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago

 

 

 

Feature photos

  • MUN STUDENTSSINGING
  • RUBÉNUNCARES
  • ellaunfpa18
  • 20180920 161147
  • Culture night at MUN 2018 in Port of Spain
  • UNIC UN Cares Trainer gets his certificate
  • UNFPA staff Ella presents a gift to a visitor at the UN booth on International Women's Day 2018
  • parent an students who attended in 2nd Climate Change workshop, with UNIC Director, Costa Rican Abassador, ASPnet Coordinator and guest presenter