World Water Report
The World Water Report (United Nations World Water Development ReportWWDR) is a thematically focused and strategically oriented report on, among other things, the global status of the supply of potable (fresh) water, which is now published annually in March by “UN-Water”. It aims to “provide decision-makers with the tools to implement sustainable use of our water resources, including regional aspects, hotspots, examples and stories, making it relevant to a wide readership at different levels and in different regions of the world”.
It was published every three years from 2003 to 2012, then again in 2014, and since then annually in conjunction with World Water Day. Its production and publication is coordinated by UNESCO’s World Water Assessment Program (WWAP).
2017 – Wastewater: An Untapped Resource
WWDR 2017 addressed wastewater as an “untapped resource” (“Wastewater: An untapped resource”). It “argues for a paradigm shift: Instead of considering wastewater from private households, agriculture and industry as a problem, it should be used as a source of raw materials”.
2018 – Nature Based Solutions for Water
The WWDR 2018 problematizes that in the future fewer and fewer people would have access to clean water, possibly half the world’s population by 2050. Green” solutions, “natural” water cycles, which would be used by the water industry, would become increasingly important. These may be superior to the “grey” technologies that have been increasingly introduced in the past, such as piping drinking water directly into homes. For example, the US metropolis of New York, which has been established for thirty years, now provides the cleanest drinking water in the USA: The city draws its drinking water from three retention ponds in the surrounding countryside and pays farmers and landowners for their eco-services, less plowing and spraying, reforesting, maintaining sustainability. This also saves New York an additional three million dollars a year.
2019 – Leaving No One Behind
The World Water Development Report 2019 reinforces the development goals set by UN member states in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It emphasizes the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation. This is the only way to reduce poverty and create prosperous societies. As a result, no one is left behind on the path to sustainable development.
2020 – Water and Climate Change
UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay, in her foreword to the World Water Development Report 2020, pointed out the impact of water scarcity on wildlife and plants: “Around one million animal and plant species face extinction.” Since 1970, species living in freshwater have suffered the greatest loss within biodiversity, with an 84% decline. Humans are also affected: around four billion people experience extreme water scarcity for at least one month a year.
The World Water Development Report 2020 describes water as the connecting element between the majority of sustainable development goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda, the Paris Climate Agreement and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030. Water management measures in individual areas such as organic agriculture, wetland protection and other nature-based solutions, could help sequester carbon dioxide in biomass and soils. At the same time, wastewater treatment could on the one hand contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gases through reduced emissions, while at the same time producing biogas as a renewable energy source, and on the other hand treated wastewater could be added back to the water cycle. As a rule, however, water is only dealt with as an issue of principle in general strategies such as the Paris Climate Agreement; concrete measures and associated cost estimates are lacking.
Additional funding for water needs to be made available through climate funds, the report says. The management of water resources and water supply and sanitation is underfunded worldwide. There is a lack of integration of water management measures into climate funds. Furthermore, the description of positive additional effects such as the creation of jobs, the improvement of public health and the reduction of poverty would make investments in water management more attractive.
- World Water Forum, World Water Council, World Water Day, water consumption
- unesco.org: The United Nations World Water Development Report
- unwater.org: World Water Development Report
- World Water Development Report 2017.In: UN-Water. Retrieved April 2, 2018 (American English).
- Waste water – an unused resource.In: GermanCommission for UNESCO. Retrieved 2 April 2018.
- UN World Water Report 2018 – Nature as a sewage treatment plant. In: Deutschlandfunk.(deutschlandfunk.de [accessed 2 April 2018]).
- United Nations World Water Development Report. UNESCO, 19 March 2019, accessed 28 August 2020
- UN World Water Development Report 2020 – Water and Climate Change. Austrian Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Regions and Tourism, 24 March 2020, retrieved 28 August 2020 (German).