The 2015 edition of the United Nations World Water Development Report (WWDR), titled Water for a Sustainable World, demonstrates how water resources and services are essential to achieving global sustainability.
‘Water is at the core of sustainable development’. Water resources, and the range of services they provide, underpin economic growth, poverty reduction and environmental sustainability. From food and energy security to human and environmental health, water has been shown to contribute to improvements in social well being, affecting the livelihoods of billions. Progress towards the achievement of most sustainable development goals requires significant improvement of water management across the globe.
The year 2015 marks a critical milestone on the road to sustainable development. As the Millennium Development Goals come to a close, a new cycle of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is poised to guide national governments and the international community in the quest to achieve a sustainable world.
This latest edition of the WWDR clearly demonstrates how water is critical to nearly every aspect of sustainable development, and how a dedicated SDG for water would create social, economic, financial and other benefits that would extend to poverty alleviation, health, education, food and energy production, and the environment.
Taking account of economic growth, social equity and environmental sustainability, the report’s forward-looking narrative describes how major challenges and change factors in the modern world will affect – and can be affected by – water resources, services and related benefits. The report provides a comprehensive overview of major and emerging trends from around the world, with examples of how some of the trend‐related challenges have been addressed, their implications for policy‐makers, and further actions that can be taken by stakeholders and the international community.
The report begins by describing a world in the not-so-distant future in which water resources and water-related services are managed in such a way that the benefits derived from water and maximized and shared equitably throughout the world.
This vision is not merely a fictional utopian outlook; it is a future that is entirely achievable, a future in which water is recognized and managed as the fundamental resource that supports all aspects of sustainable development. This vision represents a new and innovative approach to the WWDR, prompting readers to reflect on how our world could be, provided appropriate changes are made to the way water resources are perceived and managed.