Thematic information briefs

Water and Energy

For the purposes of the Conference and in preparation for World Water Day 2014, the UN-Water Decade Programme on Advocacy and Communication (UNW-DPAC) has produced a series of information briefs on different issues and tools.

  • Information brief on Water and Energy PDF document
    UNW-DPAC. January 2014
    Water and energy are basic components of life, economic growth and human progress. This is a reality for the poor as securing access to both water and energy is still the cornerstone of alleviating poverty and breaking up the vicious circles and backwardness it creates. As well as for those already on the road towards development, where most of the growing demand for energy and food arises, and where making water and energy more abundant and accessible is an integral part of economic progress that comes through important challenges such as matching limited water and energy supplies with increasing demands and managing food security…
  • Information brief on Water and Energy EfficiencyPDF document
    UNW-DPAC. January 2014
    Historically, efforts to improve water and energy (W&E) efficiency have been widely pursued separately. Improving efficiency from both the supply and the demand sides would allow countries to reduce resource scarcity and maximize the benefits provided by existing W&E infrastructure. Water efficiency is a multi faceted concept. It means “doing more and better with less” by obtaining more value with the available resources, by reducing the resource consumption and reducing the pollution and environmental impact of water use for the production of goods and services at every stage of the value chain and of water service provision…
  • Information brief on Securing Access to Water and EnergyPDF document
    UNW-DPAC. January 2014
    Regardless of their stage of development, its location and even their resource endowments, every society faces problems with securing access to water and energy. For the poorest, where fulfilling the Millennium Development Goals is still pending, securing access to both water and energy is the cornerstone of alleviating poverty and breaking up the vicious circles of poverty and backwardness. In transition economies, making water and energy more abundant and accessible is an integral part of economic progress that comes about with important challenges such as matching limited water and energy supplies with increasing demands and managing food security…
  • Information brief on Water and Energy SustainabilityPDF document
    UNW-DPAC. January 2014
    Development is a double-edged sword. Reducing poverty, triggering economic growth and building up a more inclusive society are outstanding collective achievements that come with new and bigger social and environmental challenges and with the need to reconcile the different objectives in the continuous quest of a sustainable development path . Success in economic growth requires harnessing the potential of ecosystems to satisfy the demands of water and energy which are essential for life as well as for the functioning of the many production and consumption processes where water and energy intervene as irreplaceable inputs…

Water cooperation

For the purposes of the International Year of Water Cooperation (IYC) and the International Annual UN-Water Zaragoza Conference 2012/2013 "Preparing for the 2013 International Year. Water Cooperation: Making it Happen!" which took place in Zaragoza, Spain, from 8 to 10 January 2013, UNW-DPAC produced a series of information briefs on different issues and tools on water cooperation.

  • Information brief on water cooperation
    UNW-DPAC. January 2013
    This brief provides information on water cooperation: why is this theme important? What are the main challenges and benefits? Which tools can be used to promote water cooperation?
  • Information brief on financing
    UNW-DPAC. January 2013
    This brief provides information on financing water cooperation: what are the main challenges in financing water cooperation processes? Which tools are available for financing water cooperation? What are the main sources?
  • Information brief on Information Sharing and Joint Assessments
    UNW-DPAC. January 2013
    This brief provides information on information sharing and joint assessments: how can they contribute to water cooperation processes at basin levels and in cities? The brief also highlights some conditions for success and some examples.
  • Information brief on Alternative Dispute Resolution
    UNW-DPAC. January 2013
    This brief provides information on Alternative Dispute Resolution methods: what are the key approaches and techniques? Which skills are required to apply these techniques? The brief also highlights some quick facts and practical examples related to the theme.
  • Information brief on Legal Frameworks and Institutional Arrangements
    UNW-DPAC. January 2013
    This brief provides information on legal frameworks and institutional arrangements: in what way do they contribute to water cooperation processes at different levels? The brief highlights a number of key legal frameworks and institutional arrangements and outlines some conditions for success. Some quick facts and examples are also included.

Water and the Green Economy

For the purposes of the International UN-Water Conference "Water in the Green Economy in Practice: Towards Rio+20", 3-5 October 2011, Zaragoza, Spain, UNW-DPAC has produced a series of information briefs on different issues and tools addressed by the conference. The UN-Water conference identified four priority water-related issues where this change needs to take place: for cities, watersheds, agriculture and industries. The issues information briefs introduce the main challenges, opportunities and key facts related to each of the issues identified. The briefs also outline a set of practices and approaches for transitioning to the green economy as highlighted by the organisations participating in the conference. These approaches are illustrated with case studies featured in the conference. The tools information briefs introduce the main challenges, opportunities and key facts related to each of the tools identified. The briefs also outline a set of practices and approaches for transitioning to the green economy as highlighted by the organisations participating in the conference.

Human right to water and sanitation

  • The human right to water and sanitationPDF document
    UNW-DPAC. June 2011
    This document presents the current situation and some examples illustrating how the human right to water and sanitation is being implemented in practice.
  • UN MilestonesPDF document
    UNW-DPAC. June 2011
    This document presents the UN historical background and evolution of recognition of the human right to water and sanitation.

Water and cities

Information notes produced by UNW-DPAC for the International Conference “Sustainable Water Management in Cities: Engaging stakeholders for effective change and action”, which took place in Zaragoza, Spain, from 13 to 17 December 2010. These information notes also served for the preparation of World Water Day 2011.

  • Information brief on water and citiesPDF document
    UNW-DPAC. December 2010
    What are the main challenges regarding water issues in cities? Where is the situation most pressing? Who is most affected? When are changes being realized? Why this conference? This brief tries to respond to these and other questions you may have.
  • Water quality and sanitationPDF document
    UNW-DPAC. December 2010
    Rapid urbanisation brings along several challenges related to water quality issues and sanitation. One out of four urban dwellers does not have access to improved sanitation facilities. 90% of all waste water in developing countries is discharged untreated, polluting rivers, lakes and seas. How cities are coping with these challenges?
  • Cities coping with water uncertaintiesPDF document
    UNW-DPAC. December 2010
    Today, many cities are facing severe water uncertainties, such as floods, droughts and upstream activities on transboundary rivers. Climate change and water-related disasters will place increasing demands on urban systems and will result in increased migration to urban areas. The most vulnerable are the urban poor, since they often live in hazardous locations, such as flood plains, and in poor quality housing.
  • Water and urbanisationPDF document
    UNW-DPAC. December 2010
    Half of humanity now lives in cities and, within two decades, nearly 60% of the world's population will be urban dwellers. Urban growth is most rapid in the developing world, where cities gain an average of 5 million residents every month. In Africa and Asia, the urban population will double between 2000 and 2030. Cities are growing because of: natural increase in urban population (50%), reclassification of rural areas as urban areas (25%) and rural-to-urban migration. The exploding urban population growth creates unprecedented challenges, among which provision for water and sanitation have been the most pressing and painfully felt when lacking.
  • Cities and their rural surroundings. The urban-rural interfacePDF document
    UNW-DPAC. December 2010
    Cities can no longer be treated as distinct spaces unconnected to the regions surrounding them. The functioning of urban settlements depends on land in the surrounding rural areas for food and water supply, waste disposal, recreational value and the growth of settlements. In order to sustain both urban and rural livelihoods and ecosystems, there is a need for the sustainable management of the resources requirements of urban and peri-urban areas.