Water decade kicks off, sending waves of action for sustainability

There is a global water crisis. 40 per cent of the world’s people are affected by water scarcity and two billion people are forced to drink unsafe water. Pressure on the world’s precious freshwater resources is rising and the need for action is urgent. Managing water well is essential for the international community to deliver the promise of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Without this, most of the Sustainable Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) cannot be achieved. Every drop matters.

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Safeguarding the world’s forests – our best bet for sustainable societies

10,000 years ago, at the end of the last great ice age, 6 billion hectares of forests covered 45 per cent of the Earth’s land. Over the last 5,000 years, 1.8 billion hectares were lost, and most of this loss, 1.4 billion hectares, happened in the last 300 years. Today, forests cover about one third of land on our planet. An estimated 75 per cent of global forest loss and degradation today, can be attributed to deforestation for agricultural expansion. Per FAO figures, by 2050 global agriculture production will increase by 60 per cent, and meat production by 76 per cent. Meeting this global demand for food, without impacting forests and taking environmental risks, poses a significant challenge.

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Get involved

Keeping it clean – how you can take action for safe water

Good water quality is essential to human health, social and economic development, and the ecosystem. Environmental sustainability can be incorporated in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), while the water and sanitation SDG (SDG6) clearly includes the target to improve water quality. As populations grow and natural environments become degraded, ensuring there are sufficient and safe water supplies for everyone is becoming increasingly challenging. But there are different ways for people to get involved and take action for safe water.

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Expert voices

Fix the roof while the sun is shining, economy experts advise

“Fix the roof while the sun is shining” can best describe the unique opportunity that the international community has been given by the recovering economy.  The global economic outlook has visibly strengthened, creating a favourable environment for countries to remove the barriers that are impeding the progress of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

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In case you missed it

Life-saving numbers: how solid data can protect refugees and migrants

Judging by media reports alone, we might be led to believe that migration is the defining challenge of the 21st century; that it is an unprecedented strain on the social services of states and a threat to their values. Yet, recent UN DESA data shows that 96.6 per cent of all people live in the country of their birth. More than that, research confirms the multiple benefits that migrants bring to receiving and origin countries alike.

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More from UNDESA

Upcoming Events

5-9 March, New York Informal technical briefing series on the 2018 report of the Inter-agency Task Force on Financing for Development
6-9 March, New York 49th Session of the United Nations Statistical Commission
12-16 March, New York Committee for Development Policy, Twentieth session
21 March International Day of Forests
22 March, New York Launch of the International Decade for Action: Water for Sustainable Development 2018-2028
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