This report provides a comprehensive analysis of the state of the world’s freshwater resources, and shows how changes in water demand and supply are affected by and affect other global dynamics. It considers water as a cross-cutting issue with poverty, health, exposition to the risks of water-related disasters, environmental degradation, political instability and conflict, and asserts that population growth, increasing consumption and climate change are among the factors that threaten to exacerbate these problems, with grave implications for human security and development. It calls for addressing these global challenges in order to avoid a global water crisis, and urges for global risks, including those associated with water, to be dealt with in an integrated manner while developing interdisciplinary tools that can take into account different drivers such as climate change and financial markets to achieve sustainable water management.
The report focuses on the second objective established by the expert group convened by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs – to accelerate coverage and investments for basic human water needs (drinking water supply, sanitation and health, food security, mitigation of floods and droughts and prevention of conflicts), giving priority to developing countries. It offers a holistic approach to links between water and climate change, food, energy, health and human security. Human security, broadly conceived, includes basic needs for food, water, health, livelihoods and a place to live – issues addressed in the Millennium Development Goals.
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