Proper water management vital to green economy, UN water group says

Investments in water sector could pay huge dividends for human health and food security

6 October 2011 – Successful water projects can serve as templates around the world and help to stimulate the adoption of green economies, a conference run by the United Nations inter-agency group focused on water issues has heard.

The three-day UN-Water conference in Zaragoza, Spain, which ended yesterday, discussed examples of successful water projects as well as how to adequate manage the world’s limited water resources.

Experts predict that the amount of water needed by humans could exceed the amount available by as much as 40 per cent by 2030, making water management a priority in the sustainability agenda. Water is also closely linked to the green economy because it is interwoven with sustainable development issues such as health, food security, energy and poverty.

The conference served as a preparation process for next year’s UN Conference on Sustainable Development, known as Rio+20.

The event, which ended yesterday, placed a special focus in showcasing already successful projects of how water can be a major contributor to developing a green economy. They included: the four major rivers project in the Republic of Korea; the reform of the urban water supply and sanitation sector in Yemen; water planning in Laos; and the improvement of the water supply in Burkina Faso.

“These cases may act as templates and stimulate the development of green economies in other countries,” said Reza Ardakanian, Director of the UN-Water Decade Programme on Capacity Development.

At the end of the conference, UN-Water issued a best practice guide to actions, instruments and policies to progress towards a green economy for sustainable development and poverty eradication.

UN-Water also announced that a global status report on the “application on integrated approaches to the development, management and use of water resources” will be launched at Rio+20 next June.


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