New UN report warns of increasing pressures on water
Istanbul, 16 March 2009 - Population growth, climate change, widespread mismanagement and increasing demand for energy could lead to a major global water crisis, according to the UN World Water Development Report.
The report was released on 16 March in Istanbul (Turkey) as part of the World Water Forum, which goes on until 22 March. On the theme of 'Bridging divides for water', this year's Forum seeks to enable multi-stakeholder participation and dialogue to make water policy more sustainable at a global level.
Representing the UN Environment Programme in this key gathering is a specialized team headed by UNEP Deputy Executive Director Angela Cropper.
The UN World Water Development Report (WWDR), released every three years in conjunction with the World Water Forum, is the UN's flagship report on water and is a comprehensive review of the state of the world's freshwater resources.
The report is a joint effort of the 26 UN agencies and entities which make up UN-Water, working in partnership with governments, international organizations, non-governmental organizations and other stakeholders. It aims to provide decision-makers with the tools to implement sustainable use of our water.
UNEP contributed to 'Drivers of Change' section of the Third World Water Report and will also launch two publications on 18 March as part of the Forum: 'Water Security and ecosystem services: The critical connection', and 'Integrated Water Resources Management in Action'
The main issues UNEP is promoting at the Forum are water and ecosystem services, adaptation to climate change and freshwater and coastal interlinkages.
The World Water Development Report provides a mechanism for monitoring changes in water resources and their management and for tracking progress towards achieving targets, particularly those of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the World Summit on Sustainable Development.
The Report also offers best practices and in-depth theoretical analyses to help stimulate ideas and actions for better stewardship in the water sector.
Urgent action is needed, as illustrated by the 2009 UNEP Year Book. The expected shifts in precipitation patterns and water availability due to our changing climate are complex and have been documented by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. In many regions of the world, water is already scarce and likely to become more so as global climate change advances.
Areas expected to be affected by persistent drought and water scarcity in coming years include the southern and northern tiers of Africa, much of the Middle East, a broad band in Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent, southern and eastern Australia, northern Mexico, and the southwestern United States.