Join the Forum : World Water Day - March 22
This year’s observance of World Water Day 2014 focuses on the links between water and energy.
Both are critical for eradicating poverty.
And they interact with each other in ways that can help – or hinder – our efforts to build stable societies and lives of dignity for all.
Climate change driven in great part by the unsustainable use of energy will exacerbate water stress and scarcity in many regions. Efforts to provide universal access to water and energy will be undermined if the current warming trend continues.
The many strong links between water and energy demand coherent, integrated policies and innovative strategies. Water must be used -- and electricity must be generated and distributed -- equitably and efficiently, so all users get a fair share.
These are the goals of the ongoing work of UN-Water and of the Sustainable Energy for All initiative. These issues are also crucially important elements in our discussions on the post-2015 development agenda.
On World Water Day, let us pledge to develop the policies needed to ensure that sustainable water and energy are secured for the many and not just the few.
We need to better understand the complex interactions between resources that are closely interlinked, such as water, food and energy. And we must acknowledge that it is impossible to manage these resources sustainably if we treat them in isolation. Each mode of energy production has implications for the quantity and quality of water available. The choices made in one sector have repercussions on the other, for better and for worse. The World Water Development Report released today confirms, for example, that people who lack electricity are also those who lack water. This is no mere coincidence – water is required to produce energy, and energy is required to sanitize and convey water. Both are essential to human wellbeing and sustainable development.
Sustainability depends on our ability to understand all these connections and to develop more relevant policies that take an integrated approach to interconnected resources. The challenge is all the greater as the demand for water and energy is soaring, particularly in emerging economies, where agriculture, industry and cities are developing at a tremendous pace. We must find ways to ensure access to water and energy in sufficient quantity and quality, in a sustainable way.
Sustainability also requires better cooperation between all water stakeholders – policymakers, scientists and businesses, both public and private, who all too often ignore each other while in reality they depend on each other. The International Year of Water Cooperation in 2013 set important milestones. The initiative on sanitation of Mr Jan Eliasson, United Nations Deputy Secretary-General, also calls for greater collective action for the better management of human waste and wastewater. Poor sanitation has devastating consequences, particularly for children, and the key to the problem includes energy.
There is enough water in the world for everyone. What we continue to lack is better governance and the collective courage to craft fair compromise solutions. These should be based on research results and reliable data. UNESCO will continue to commit its resources to this cause, in particular through our International Hydrological Programme, the Institute for Water Education in Delft, our centres and Chairs specialized in water, and the data from the World Water Assessment Programme, which are all ways of building capacity, carrying out research and sharing good practices. Together, we can better integrate water and sanitation and the link between water and energy as positive levers for sustainable development.
The energy and water sectors have different drivers behind decision-making: energy planners are more focused on diversifying sources of producing low-carbon energy, while water managers have to satisfy a diversity of water users including the environment. Cross-sector cooperation and coordination in policies and planning can maximise the supply of one resource while minimising overuse of the other.
Produced by the Global Water Partnership, 2014
The global goal for water is supported by a coherent, cohesive and mutually reinforcing set of targets that will help countries reach the goal by 2030. To facilitate understanding of the multiple functions water plays in society, the framework is structured into five measurable and interconnected targets. The short versions of these targets are below. Under each link, you will find descriptions of each of the targets and more resource material.
° Target A: Achieve universal access to safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene
° Target B: Improve by (x%) the sustainable use and development of water resources in all countries
° Target C: All countries strengthen equitable, participatory and accountable water governance
° Target D: Reduce wastewater pollution and improve water quality by reducing untreated domestic and industrial wastewater by (x%); increasing wastewater reused safely by (y%); and reducing nutrient pollution by (z%) to maximize water resource availability and improve water quality.
° Target E: Reduce mortality by (x%) and economic loss by (y%) from natural and human-induced water- related disasters
|A post-2015 Global Goal for Water : Securing Sustainable Water for All|