Water is critical for socio-economic development, healthy ecosystems and for human survival itself. Yet, 2.1 billion people do not have access to safely managed water and 4.5 billion people do not have access to safely managed sanitation.

(JMP, WHO/UNICEF, 2017)

ACCESS TO WATER

Water is critical for socio-economic development, healthy ecosystems and for human survival itself. Yet, there is widespread unsustainable use of surface water and groundwater in many parts of the world. Moreover, trends in water quality are decreasing in most watersheds, aquifers and coastal areas, and dependence on infrastructure for water provisioning is increasing.

WATER SECURITY

It is also a known fact that water pollution has worsened in almost all rivers in Africa, Asia and Latin America since the 1990’s. The uneven water availability, combined with inadequate distribution and waste treatment infrastructure, make water security a problem, reducing reliable access to a sufficient quality and quantity of fresh water, with impacts on human health.

FRESH WATER ECOSYSTEMS

Our freshwater ecosystems are degrading at an alarming rate due to the land-use activities largely due to the  impact of trade and other economic activities. This is due to increased unsafe disposal of untreated wastewater, pollution from inadequate sanitation, unregulated solid and chemical waste disposal, and air pollution. 

WATER AND TRADE

While the significant role of global trade in reducing poverty, creating jobs, and promoting growth cannot be underestimated, economic activities and trade also lead to major human and environmental hazards: unsustainable agricultural trade, practices and climate change are, for instance, projected to be major drivers of further degradation of most terrestrial, freshwater and coastal ecosystems.

There is need to strengthen demonstrated multi-dimensional planning, partnerships and efforts, which are informed by data (research and science) and which are shaped by the needs and local contexts.  Planning, management and regulatory frameworks need strengthening to enhance compliance with the minimum standards that protect water, environment and the population.​

© 2019 Water Environment & Human Development Initiative